Parents have been arrested for letting their kid become obese. Yes, you read that right. Not talked to. Not given counseling. Not given a free gym membership for their kid. Arrested. The parents, who live in the U.K., have an 11-year-old boy who, at five feet tall, reportedly weighs 210 pounds. Yeah, way too big. But the parents say it's not their fault.
The boy's father reportedly told a newspaper:
He’s always been big. He was born with shovels for hands and spades for feet. Everyone on my side of the family is big. There’s nothing we can do about it. I only eat occasional kebabs. Our son’s favourite snack is steamed broccoli -- and he’s still big.
Hmm, his favorite food might be broccoli, but what is he eating with it? Hard to believe anyone could get that large on just broccoli.
The police were brought in after the boy was treated twice at a hospital. Sounds like his weight is already affecting his health. The parents were threatened with legal action unless they signed their child up weight loss plan, but apparently had no success with it.
The dad insists:
It's genetics -- you can be genetically fat.
Well, I don't know enough about genetics to know if this is true or not, but if the parents are truly monitoring the kid's eating habits and exercise, as they claim, then what can they do? Perhaps there is something wrong with him and his body is storing fat unnecessarily or he is just unable to lose weight for some reason. There are some weird medical conditions out there we don't yet know everything about the human body.
Seems rather harsh to threaten to take the child away from the parents and charge them with suspicion of child neglect and cruelty. Unless there is some proof that they are deliberately feeding their kid fatty foods (it's unlikely that, at 11-years-old, he's eating other than what they give him for much of the time), then an arrest seems an overreaction.
Perhaps he should be put in a weight loss camp for several weeks and see what happens.
Do you think the parents should have been arrested? Should parents be held criminally liable for their kids' weight?
Image via © Philippe Lissac /Godong/Corbis