Extreme Child Obesity Grounds For State Intervention and Foster Care? Now Legal Reasons For A Healthy Diet.

Is child obesity grounds for abuse allegations?

An article by the Journal of the American Medical Association seems to think so. In fact, it suggests that morbidly obese children—those with weight-related health problems, like diabetes—should be placed in foster care.

“Ubiquitous junk food marketing, lack of opportunities for physically active recreation, and other aspects of modern society promote unhealthful lifestyles in children. Inadequate or unskilled parental supervision can leave children vulnerable to these obesigenic environmental influences.”

Are you following? You should, the article was written by a lawyer… and a doctor.

The article’s two authors, Murtagh and Ludwig, “point out that states have long addressed parental neglect that results in children’s undernourishment through already existing legal frameworks governing child abuse,” summarizes the Wall Street Journal Law Blog. A few states have legalized this logic for overnourished ones, including New York, California, Texas, and Indiana.

However, parents who have had children removed from their homes wonder if child obesity laws do more harm than good on family units. “They’ve done damage by pulling us apart,” Jerri Gray, a single mom who lost custody of her 555-pound, 14-year-old son, told the AP, reported the WSJ.

As a lawyer, what would you say after discovering Gray’s son—two years out of his mother’s care—has since lost over 200 pounds? As a parent, do you feel the same way about such legislation?

The summertime has us all thinking about children. But, adult obesity—especially for professionals in high pressure jobs—is of equal concern.

Guidelines from the same article about child obesity can be applied to attorney parents, as well. It can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet at the office when McDonald’s is the only restaurant open at 2am.

Even still, like your child’s health, it’s important to plan ahead for yours.

Obesity is a disease that can be caused by:

  1. Emotional distress;
  2. Excessive available junk food; and a
  3. Lack of physical activity.

Although a candy bowl on your desk is a great way to invite colleagues to your office, replace it will mints or mixed nuts, which are a great deal healthier.

Use one hour a day to exercise. If you don’t have time to hit the gym at lunch, then walk around the neighborhood instead. If you must combine this activity with a conference call, then so be it. Put the phone on mute and bring a change of shirt to the office.

Finally, realize that stress takes a physical toll on people’s health as much as diet and exercise. Whatever your stress relief outlet may be—hobbies, gaming, or just talking to your kids—take the time for it, for your client’s sake.

And, apply these same healthy-living principals to your home life, for you family’s sake.


Thinking of revising your firm’s wellness program? Take C4CM’s course, “Wellness Plans and Employer Liability: Designing and Implementing an Effective and Compliant Program” to be sure you’re above the law and to save on health insurance.


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