June 27, 2014 –Parents in Norfolk were arrested on suspicion of neglect and child cruelty under Section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 because their 11-year-old son weighs 210 lbs. and has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 41.9 – a number that is much higher than the obese classification for an adult male.
The boy was brought to hospital twice last March for treatment whereupon doctors and social workers called the police because they were very concerned about his health.
Police stated that while this type of intervention is very rare and only occurred because other attempts to protect the child were unsuccessful, the child abuse investigation unit liaised with health care and social service agencies to ensure a proportionate and necessary response.
The parents were released on bail pending further inquiries after concerns were raised about the boy's welfare. The boy’s mother told the reporter that she was trying to keep her son slim by encouraging him to play active games on his Wii console. She commented that she did not consider her son’s weight a ‘big deal’ because she is chubby and the boy's father is big as well.
Some parents don't think their children are overweight or obese and believe they are eating healthy meals, and other parents readily admit their children are overweight but believe they will eventually outgrow their 'baby fat' stage. As long as parents continue to look at their children with a blind eye or skewed attitude, serious health issues will escalate exponentially and children will ultimately pay the price.
Obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and cancer cause at least 35,000 deaths a year in Britain, according to Britain’s National Health Service. U.K. has one of the highest obesity levels in Western Europe, surpassed only by Malta and Iceland, according to a study published last week in the Lancet Medical Journal.
The study found that two-thirds of men and more than half of women in Britain were either obese or overweight and about 28% of children from 2 to 15 years of age fall into those categories.
The government has tried to encourage healthier eating habits by improving labelling on food packages, promoting diet and exercise on TV ads, and asking manufacturers in the food industry to reduce salt, fat and sugar in their products.
Cadbury announced that it would stop producing chocolate bars in Britain with more than 250 calories.
In the past five years, 74 morbidly obese children under the age of eleven were removed from their families by social services for their own protection.
The Lancet Medical Journal, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, reported that obesity caused an estimate of 3.4 million deaths worldwide in 2010.
Urgent action and leadership are desperately needed to assist every country in the integration of proactive measures to decrease the escalating numbers of children suffering from obesity.
The World Health Organization considers childhood obesity one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21stcentury.
Ten Facts about Obesity – World Health Organization
Childhood Overweight and Obesity – World Health Organization (Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health)
Global Health Observatory – World Health Organization