Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

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Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Quixotess » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:14 am UTC

This is...insane.

For those of you who can't/won't click the link, this takes place in Scotland. Social Services has told the parents that if the three heaviest of their six children don't lose weight, they could lose all six of them. They have little editorials after the main article, and one says "We have no hesitation in removing a severely undernourished child from their home," and cases of obesity should be treated the same way.

Obviously I think this is ludicrous, but what do you all think?
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Jack Saladin » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:21 am UTC

... How is that ludicrous at all? If parents were subjecting their children to conditions that caused any other life-threatening and quality of life destroying health condition, would you still say it was "insane" to suggest that they aren't properly caring for them?

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Malice » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:25 am UTC

On the one hand, I recognize the argument has some validity to it; after all, obesity is a dangerous thing, particularly for children.

On the other hand, this solution is not at all ideal. I don't know about Scottish child services, but here in America getting dumped into the foster care system is pretty terrible, and should only be done in cases where that harm is worth getting the child out of a truly terrible situation--like physical/sexual abuse. I don't think this qualifies.

And I especially hate that these kids are almost certainly going to develop eating disorders or other psychological problems, after the government told them they were too fat to have parents.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby zealo » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:27 am UTC

should someone who owns an overweight cat be banned from owning animals? what about an over fed tree?

unless the parents are literally forcing these children to gain weight in some way, i wouldn't support punishing them.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Jack Saladin » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:28 am UTC

I think we can assume that anything involving the words "health" or "social" is bound to be much, much worse for the non-hyperrich in America than in any other country, so using your experiences in the US as a point in this case is rather invalid.

what about an over fed tree?

Yeah, and since we let people cut the branches off trees, we should let people cut the limbs off babies! This is totally reasonable logic!

Idiot.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:29 am UTC

After reading the article, this does seem overly drastic to me. Although I do admit I didn't find anything wrong with it at first glance.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Malice » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:48 am UTC

Fearbears?! wrote:I think we can assume that anything involving the words "health" or "social" is bound to be much, much worse for the non-hyperrich in America than in any other country, so using your experiences in the US as a point in this case is rather invalid.


Fine. The logic still applies, though. Being overweight is bad. Having no parents is probably worse.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby JayDee » Wed Mar 26, 2008 9:42 am UTC

Haven't read the article, but my first thought was that you should ad a "using a crane" to the title.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby cypherspace » Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:43 pm UTC

Malice wrote:And I especially hate that these kids are almost certainly going to develop eating disorders or other psychological problems, after the government told them they were too fat to have parents.
I think it's rather different if it's quite clear it's the parents' fault, not the kids'.

I have trouble working out why this is different from removing a malnourished child from the home, I guess. Perhaps considering that one is in immediate danger of death, but again I'm not sure why giving them a higher risk of early death is therefore okay.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby The Spherical Cow » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:07 pm UTC

I don't think the comparison with malnourished children is valid. Malnourished children face immediate dangers to their health, whereas obese children only face an increased risk of dangers to their health in the future. From the sounds of things, there's no real evidence to show that these kids are being mistreated, either - just that the kids are overweight. They perhaps need to exercise more, and eat a little less, but forcibly putting them into care and making them diet there is not going to be helpful.

Taking them away and placing them in care is nigh on sure to fuck the kids up. I suspect this threat will already be giving them issues, such as food insecurities.

(As a trivial side note, I'm from where this is happening. Though this is the first I've heard of it.)

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby cypherspace » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:27 pm UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:I don't think the comparison with malnourished children is valid. Malnourished children face immediate dangers to their health, whereas obese children only face an increased risk of dangers to their health in the future. From the sounds of things, there's no real evidence to show that these kids are being mistreated, either - just that the kids are overweight.
But why is it okay to give them an increased risk of dangers to their health in the future? I still can't see why the government should interfere in one case but not another. If one family's feeding their child poison that will kill them in a few days, and another's feeding them poison that will kill them in a few years, the only thing I can see different is that the government needs to act faster in the first case.

The whole point is that the definition of mistreated is now being expanded to include overweight, in the same way that malnourished is being mistreated. If a malnourished child is being treated well in every other way, that wouldn't preclude them being removed from the home.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Gunfingers » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:40 pm UTC

Yeah, we're not talking a little overweight here, either. We're talking a 12 year old who outweighs me, a full grown male of average height and weight, by about 50 lbs. That's bad for you.


Edit: "16 stone" does make for a fairly cool Bush reference, though.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby The Spherical Cow » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:44 pm UTC

I'm just not convinced they are actually abusing the kids. Sure, they are overweight, and that may cause problems in the future, but placing the children into care is far worse, in my opinion.

As for the government interfering in the case of malnourished children, they would do so if the parent was deliberately withholding food from the child. If the parents could not afford food, they'd be given help to buy it and would be unlikely to have their children taken from them.* In this case, the children are quite clearly being cared for, just not 'perfectly', so I don't feel there is justification for them being taken away.

The family needs support to look after their children, not threats.

*Maybe they do take them away. But I'd oppose that too.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby cypherspace » Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:52 pm UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:As for the government interfering in the case of malnourished children, they would do so if the parent was deliberately withholding food from the child. If the parents could not afford food, they'd be given help to buy it and would be unlikely to have their children taken from them.* In this case, the children are quite clearly being cared for, just not 'perfectly', so I don't feel there is justification for them being taken away.

And if it turned out the parent was quite simply incapable of caring properly for their child? If the child was malnourished/obese just because the parent didn't have a clue about how to properly feed them, then okay, give them support, education, etc. And if they still can't care for them?
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby crazyjimbo » Wed Mar 26, 2008 3:14 pm UTC

I don't see what taking children away from their parents will accomplish that an hour of exercise daily and a healthy lunch couldn't. But then Scottish school lunches are crap, and we could do with more forced exercise within school time. Suddenly being made to run a bit doesn't seem so bad when they want to destroy your family.

Of course this is a whole different debate about how best to tackle obesity, but regardless of the ethics behind the decision to remove these children from their family, it just seems like a really shit way to try to tackle the problem.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby lorenith » Wed Mar 26, 2008 4:47 pm UTC

Taking the kids is probably a bad way to handle it, but some sort of intervention is necessary I think. (I didn't read the article yet...though but we'll see)

You all say that obese children aren't in immediate danger, but that is pretty much wrong. I've heard of cases of obese Elementary aged children lying down and just never getting up because of heart failure and stuff like that.

Most very obese kids also are being fed incorrectly by their parents, often the parents don't really know better themselves or refuse to change whatever diet the family is on, some parents even feel their obese child is the perfect weight, and anything less is underweight.

I know some people are just dispositioned towards being a bit large, but one can be large and healthy, or large and obese it just takes care in diet and general activity.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby 4=5 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:13 pm UTC

Spoiler:
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when I hit puberty I shot up in height and lost weight because of it.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby lorenith » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:12 pm UTC

So a stone is 14 pounds? (I looked it up cause I have no idea).

So a 12 year old boy that weighs flipping 224 pounds?

A 11 year old girl thats 154 pounds?

A 3 year old that's 56 pounds

These kids aren't just obese, they're more like morbidly obese. How can she let them balloon up to such an unhealthy weight and be surprised when she is warned that she's doing something wrong with these kids?

Edit: I typed 12 instead of 11 for the girl...
Last edited by lorenith on Thu Mar 27, 2008 2:01 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Mar 26, 2008 6:35 pm UTC

crazyjimbo wrote:I don't see what taking children away from their parents will accomplish that an hour of exercise daily and a healthy lunch couldn't.


It's an "if" ultimatum. The parents don't have to have their kids taken away. It's only when the parents fail to get them doing the exercise and healthy eating that they get them taken away.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby zealo » Thu Mar 27, 2008 12:31 am UTC

Fearbears?! wrote:
what about an over fed tree?

Yeah, and since we let people cut the branches off trees, we should let people cut the limbs off babies! This is totally reasonable logic!

Idiot.


no stupid, because tree limbs grow back, and baby limbs don't. which is why cutting off baby hair or baby nails is acceptable. duh. :roll:
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby 22/7 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 6:52 am UTC

Comparing childcare to caring for a tree is asinine. And I don't mean asinine in the general sense, I mean the "according to Hoyle's" definition of asinine (or at least the one that I once read in a dictionary) being "inexcusably foolish or stupid."
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Ari » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:45 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:This is...insane.

For those of you who can't/won't click the link, this takes place in Scotland. Social Services has told the parents that if the three heaviest of their six children don't lose weight, they could lose all six of them. They have little editorials after the main article, and one says "We have no hesitation in removing a severely undernourished child from their home," and cases of obesity should be treated the same way.

Obviously I think this is ludicrous, but what do you all think?


I think if there's good reason to believe that it's preventable, pathological obesity, visited on six of their children with at least one extreme case, then yes, that is a justified reason to remove them from their parents' custody. I'm afraid I can't figure stone into kilograms anymore, so I'm not exactly a good judge of this case, and there are other factors than pure weight that can clue us into whether the obesity is preventable and pathological.

I think it's an important responsibility of all parents to at least attempt to get their children some exercise. The article is missing really important context in that regard- what diet had the parents had them on? What level of exercise were the kids getting? Were the parents in control of the household or not? Those three questions can pretty easily answer whether it's a case for support of the parents or intervention.

That said, I'm inclined to agree a little with your outrage, too. People who look fat are often viewed as more responsible for their condition than they might actually be, and our view of a healthy weight is probably actually a little on the slim side in the Anglosphere. This could just be another case of weight-hate rearing its anorexic little head, too. There's really just not enough information to draw a good conclusion.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby 22/7 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:54 am UTC

Ari wrote:That said, I'm inclined to agree a little with your outrage, too. People who look fat are often viewed as more responsible for their condition than they might actually be, and our view of a healthy weight is probably actually a little on the slim side in the Anglosphere.

While I agree pretty strongly with your last statement, the bolded statement bothers me. Are you insinuating that there is a sizable portion of the population who actually have a glandular related weight issue?
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby lorenith » Thu Mar 27, 2008 4:07 pm UTC

Ari wrote:I'm afraid I can't figure stone into kilograms


Boy is 102 Kg

Girl is 69.9 Kg

Toddler is 25.4 Kg

They are all very much overweight, it's not just a bit fat, if we had pictures they'd probably look like giant flesh balloons.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Ari » Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:23 am UTC

22/7 wrote:
Ari wrote:That said, I'm inclined to agree a little with your outrage, too. People who look fat are often viewed as more responsible for their condition than they might actually be, and our view of a healthy weight is probably actually a little on the slim side in the Anglosphere.

While I agree pretty strongly with your last statement, the bolded statement bothers me. Are you insinuating that there is a sizable portion of the population who actually have a glandular related weight issue?


I'm saying that if there is any significant portion of the population that we view as overweight with glandular weight issues, a larger than average natural weight, cancerous tumours, etc... then we need to get our assumptions checked. Especially given how hostile society can get to the overweight.

I'm certainly not saying that there aren't significant numbers of indulgent people- that would be a very daring statement and I have absolutely no evidence that there's some mass epidemic of issues that cause people to gain weight in western society.

lorenith wrote:Boy is 102 Kg

Girl is 69.9 Kg

Toddler is 25.4 Kg

They are all very much overweight, it's not just a bit fat, if we had pictures they'd probably look like giant flesh balloons.


Thankyou- goes to show that teaching imperial measurements to kids in the UK is a waste of time, huh?

Anyway, that's quite scary, and I find it hard to believe they've all got undiagnosed health issues that led to that weight. =/
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby McLovin » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:44 pm UTC

After reading the article...yeah. I agree with the point that something has to be done, but taking the children out of the home and putting them into care will really do more harm than good. Sure, they'll lose the weight if they're forced to. But that could also very well lead to eating and psychological disorders. Better to give the family, say, a dietitian that would plan the family's meals, keep careful watch over the kids' portions, and make sure they were getting the necessary exercise. Should this be the parents' responsibility? Yes. But if whatever they're doing isn't working, help them, don't punish them.

Lastly:
4=5 wrote:when I hit puberty I shot up in height and lost weight because of it.

Same with me. When I was a freshman in high school, I was 5'2" and weighed about 210 lbs. Two/three years later, 5'7" and 135. And I really didn't do anything particularly different.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:00 pm UTC

Hahaha. Seriously. If you ever meet this kid, make him show you his old ID. It's HILARIOUS.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby 22/7 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:30 pm UTC

It took me way too long to get that joke.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby fjafjan » Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:45 pm UTC

zealo wrote:should someone who owns an overweight cat be banned from owning animals? what about an over fed tree?

unless the parents are literally forcing these children to gain weight in some way, i wouldn't support punishing them.

What? So now children have free choice and whatever occurs to them is their own fault? Children can't go buy their own food, so they eat what is served to them.
But yes, if someone is in care of cats that are so fat they are suffering from it I imagine that could be the basis for an animal cruelty case.

Now I agree that social services should not go "your kids are fat, we're taking them from you", and I agree that putting children in a foster home is not a light matter, but these kids are facing serious risks due to the poor parenting, so something should be done, and a warning such as that is not so outragous. I also suspect this might be a bit sensationalist, and social services might have had other causes for intervening.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby 22/7 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:15 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:I also suspect this might be a bit sensationalist, and social services might have had other causes for intervening.

And this may not be the first time that social services has been notified, nor the first time that they've had the "your kids are unhealthy, shape up" conversation. It may be that this is simply the first time an ultimatum has been attached to it.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby fjafjan » Wed Apr 02, 2008 2:05 am UTC

22/7 wrote:
fjafjan wrote:I also suspect this might be a bit sensationalist, and social services might have had other causes for intervening.

And this may not be the first time that social services has been notified, nor the first time that they've had the "your kids are unhealthy, shape up" conversation. It may be that this is simply the first time an ultimatum has been attached to it.

Yeah, basically this is what I meant. I mean the headline "Social Services act in case of fucked up Kids" is not a good a headline as the one we're presented.
The Mirror isn't exactly a quality news paper after all.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby arcsol » Tue Apr 29, 2008 10:42 pm UTC

it'd be nice to know if the morbid obesity is caused by a metabolic disorder (or a similar disease) or by just bad eating habits. social services has done good for giving the parents the heads-up and should just help on doing something to counter-act the obesity (e.g. assign a dietitian etc). the parents should just accept the sad fact that their kids are well, flesh blimps, and that they should do something about it, instead of focusing on the very avoidable possibility of the kids being taken away.

at least the parents were quite shook up with the rather extreme warning. i just hope they're shook up enough so that they'd wake up, smell the coffee (or in this case, the lard), acknowledge that something is definitely wrong with their kids' weights and DO something about it.

damn, 12yrs old and you're pulling 102kg in that frame? i'm 5' 7", 20+, i KNOW i'm chunky/flabby as hell with my [90,100]kg weight and i'm taking steps to lose some weight. puppy fat my ass. that's PORCINE fat fercryingoutloud.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby segmentation fault » Wed Apr 30, 2008 3:59 pm UTC

reminds me of the fat nazi skit on the upright citizens brigade. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_vX0t6imfk

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby GhostWolfe » Thu May 01, 2008 1:40 am UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:I'm just not convinced they are actually abusing the kids.

crazyjimbo wrote:I don't see what taking children away from their parents will accomplish that an hour of exercise daily and a healthy lunch couldn't. ... it just seems like a really shit way to try to tackle the problem.

This, to me is the deal breaker.

To my mind, if these children are morbidly obese because their parents are negligent, stupid, or downright harmful, then obesity shouldn't be treated differently to any other case of neglect or dangerously bad parenting.

I don't believe that children should necessarily be taken away in the first instance, unless the above applies, there is a lot more social services could be doing to help these kids.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Okita » Thu May 01, 2008 4:20 am UTC

I'd just like to step in and point out that it's possible to be malnourished and still be fat. The term refers to either the excess or the absence of a decent amount of certain nutrients. That said, depending on the eating habits of the children, such a high weight could be a signifier of all sorts of medical problems. Or it could just be that they are eating too much, there's not enough context to know.

Although I suppose social services from their comments believe the problem is based upon exercise and whatnot.

I'm curious as to the "developmental" problems that caused the family to go to Social Services in the first place.

I'd also point out that the 12 year old boy weighs more than double my weight which is rather frightening. Furthermore, he weighs almost as much as his father, 2/3rds of the weight of his mother.

I guess the argument is to whether obesity can be fought with proper diet and exercise. In some cases (or so I'm told by my med student friends), it can't.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby TheAmazingRando » Thu May 01, 2008 5:27 am UTC

Obesity isn't always due to unhealthy diet and poor exercise, I don't know if it's even possible for a child to gain that much weight from only those factors. I know there are plenty of obese people who exercise and eat better than I do and just can't lose weight, there are far more factors here than just laziness. The fact that it's three children in the same family implies some sort of genetic predisposition, which seems much more likely than three kids eating and exercising poorly and, coincidentally, all having the most extreme possible response to it.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby Okita » Thu May 01, 2008 5:30 am UTC

While I do agree with your sentiments as to poor exercise and nutrition not being the sole cause of obesity (as I pointed out above), the fact that at such a young age, those kids are already surpassing one of their parents and making headway to the other before even hitting puberty seems rather out of the ordinary to me.

I don't know if it's exercise but I definitely think there might be some sort of medical factor that could be looked into.

I still think there's not enough information or context though.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby michaelandjimi » Thu May 01, 2008 9:33 am UTC

TheAmazingRando wrote:Obesity isn't always due to unhealthy diet and poor exercise, I don't know if it's even possible for a child to gain that much weight from only those factors. I know there are plenty of obese people who exercise and eat better than I do and just can't lose weight, there are far more factors here than just laziness. The fact that it's three children in the same family implies some sort of genetic predisposition, which seems much more likely than three kids eating and exercising poorly and, coincidentally, all having the most extreme possible response to it.

Wait, three kids being fed the same food by their parents, living in the same environment as each other and having similar interests (ie non-active ones) is unlikely? And then, due to unhealthy eating and lack of exercise, they become overweight?

Seems pretty likely to me.
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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from Home

Postby TheAmazingRando » Thu May 01, 2008 4:09 pm UTC

michaelandjimi wrote:Wait, three kids being fed the same food by their parents, living in the same environment as each other and having similar interests (ie non-active ones) is unlikely? And then, due to unhealthy eating and lack of exercise, they become overweight?

Seems pretty likely to me.

The odds of three kids, even with the same diet and exercise, all having such an extreme response to it without some sort of medical problem seems very unlikely. Most kids, you probably couldn't get them anywhere near that weight no matter how much food you let them have.

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Re: Social Services Threatens to Remove Obese Children from

Postby lesliesage » Thu May 01, 2008 4:32 pm UTC

puzzle
Last edited by lesliesage on Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:04 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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