Fat Kids

What?

As the Western world gets fatter and fatter, the solutions to slimming it down get ever more draconian. In Britain yesterday, the government issued guidelines saying “children under the age of 5, including babies who can’t walk yet, should exercise every day.” Today, in the States, a pair of Harvard scholars writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association advocate stripping away the custody rights of parents of super obese children. They’re for real!

“Despite the discomfort posed by state intervention, it may sometimes be necessary to protect a child,” said Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and researcher at Harvard’s School of Public Health. The study’s co-author, David Ludwig, says taking away peoples’ children “ideally will support not just the child but the whole family, with the goal of reuniting child and family as soon as possible.”

They site the case of a 400-lb 12 y/o girl who was placed in foster care and lost 130 pounds.

Look, I have nothing but rage for parents who let their kids balloon up to 400 pounds. But our foster care system is already overburdened with kids whose parents beat the shit out of them, molest them, are high on drugs all the time or expose them to dangerous criminal elements. Obesity is something we can treat without ripping kids out of homes. Let’s some fucking perspective, please? Thank you.

Comments are closed.

  1. richtaylor365

    I was going to post something today on that Harvard study. The pattern is always the same, when advocating radical or out of the box actions, target some extreme case where it is more rational to assume that the nanny state must intervene. They say their targets are only the extremely obese, the 99th percentile, but allow them to get one toe in the door, and next they will want those with a certain percentage of body fat removed, or the sedentary, or the home schooled, or any other demographic that does not fall into what they consider normal.

    Thumb up 0

  2. JimK

    I know “anecdote is not data” but, I have experience in two of two areas of this story.

    1. Was fat, am fat, albeit less so, was a fat kid starting around 12-13. Always athletic though, so even when I was pudgetastic I played football, lifted weights etc.
    2. Was taken from my home twice, once at 10 and finally at 15, and I have extensive experience with the foster system as well as “residential learning facilities” (i.e. reform school)

    The system isn’t just overburdened. It was, and still is, designed to attract the people you don’t want caring for kids. Amdinitration of the DSS (or DFC or CFS or whatever they call it in your state/county) is done by the kind of people who love rules and regs, but can’t handle the dynamic world of say, the DMV or other civil service. They want a steady, impossible-to-lose job where they can follow a set pattern of behavior and at the same time feel like it’s okay to say “I help kids for a living.”

    The care homes? I was in a total of 14 of them. ONE. (1) A SINGLE ONE OF THEM was run by a loving family that tried so hard to help me. They took on one child at a time, and my GOD were they patient with me. But I was pretty messed up, and I made life intolerable for them. When I threatened the safety of their birth son, I had to go (hence reform school).

    But every other private home I was in was a foster mill. Huge houses with 4-6 bedrooms, two to four kids to a room in some cases. My first house was what they call “emergency care.” The day I was taken they have to put you somewhere, and these people had an 8 bedroom house with a minimum of two kids to a room. There were two picnic tables in the dining room. It was a sty. No one gave a crap. The older kids preyed on the younger kids in every way you can imagine. The only reason I made it through those 12-odd weeks is because I was angrier, meaner, more abused and therefore abusive, and willing to *hurt* someone if they fucked with me.

    Flooding this system with fat children who have no real self-defense mechanisms is a horrible, bordering-on-criminal idea. My experience with truly obese children is that most of them never get told “no.” They don’t understand how to process limits. They are demanding and expectant, and generally physically unfit. They are coddled and therefore have likely not learned to fight.

    Kids pulled from abusive homes have one positive thing going for them: They already know how to process abuse, rejection, bullying and so forth. They can, generally, find ways to deal with whatever comes their way. BOCTAOE, but my experience with the system bore this out. Abused kids can cope. It’s later that shit goes haywire, when they are adults and have the world of choices open to them.

    Filling the foster system with fat kids who can’t handle themselves? Forget the whole “rights of the parents” thing, and if you believe that allowing a kid to get fat is abuse. Forget the question of just what constitutes “obese.” Forget the question of who, exactly, gets to be the arbiter of all of this, and forget the fact that while thge limits may start out reasonable, eventually it won’t rest with “You child is 165 lbs. overweight, we’re taking him.” It will be “Your child is 4% over the maximum allowed weight for his age group, we’re taking him and you’re going to prison.”

    Forget all that.

    THIS. WILL. RUIN. KIDS. It will harm them, it will destroy lives, it will not work, and it will break the back of an already broken system. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, THIS. WILL. NOT. WORK.

    And so it should be rejected wholesale.

    tl;dr: Fat kids can’t fight, foster care sucks, this is a truly stupid idea, Harvard is packed with assholes that are too fucking intellectual for anyone’s good, and ivory tower douchebags should be forced to live and deal with the things they make proclamations about.

    Thumb up 1

  3. Miguelito

    My experience with truly obese children is that most of them never get told “no.” They don’t understand how to process limits.

    I think a big part of why so many people have embraced an entitlement mentality is based on having been brought up like this. It started out slower, but is becoming far more the norm.

    I’ve been overweight most of my life (like you I was usually actually fairly fit though, just large) but my parents didn’t (completely) spoil me. I always have been lazy, I know it’s far more my own fault. I’ve been busting my ass to lose as much weight as I can, I’m in a medically supervised program and have gotten a nice, regular exercise routine going. I know it’s all up to me and not something that the gov’t should be “fixing” for me.

    THIS. WILL. RUIN. KIDS. It will harm them, it will destroy lives, it will not work, and it will break the back of an already broken system. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, THIS. WILL. NOT. WORK.

    Sure, it won’t work if the actual idea is to help kids. But the reality is, the true idea is to give more power to government and grow the “Child services” bureaucracy even more. In that sense, it’d work wonders.

    Harvard is packed with assholes that are too fucking intellectual for anyone’s good, and ivory tower douchebags should be forced to live and deal with the things they make proclamations about.

    Far too much of academia as a whole (which is where just about every “study” comes from) really have no actual experience in the real world and clearly no idea how it actually works.

    Thumb up 0

  4. hist_ed

    Far too much of academia as a whole (which is where just about every “study” comes from) really have no actual experience in the real world and clearly no idea how it actually works.

    God this sums up modern liberalism from Karl Marx on down, doesn’t it? Theory theory theory pushed by people that don’t actually have to produce and that don’t have to deal with the horrible consequences of their ideas.

    Thumb up 1

  5. Seattle Outcast

    A “theory” must actually be testable and have data – what these baboons push out is clearly no further along than “hypothesis” and most of it falls into the category of “bullshit musings”….

    Thumb up 1

  6. AlexInCT

    Not if you are a lib or pushing the crap they believe in. Then “consensus” or the cry of “its for the children/grandma/the poor animals/the poor people/those without self-esteem/and so on” is all that counts. Don’t want to go along? Well, you are a racist, sexist, evil capitalist, monster, and worst of all greedy for wanting to keep more of your own when the envious decide you shouldn’t have that much. Logic, facts, and proof are for the morons that don’t know how to game the system for power. And the media playing as your personal propaganda machine sure makes it all easier.

    Forget that at your own peril.

    Thumb up 0

  7. Kimpost

    So the objection is mainly a slippery slope one? A number of measures should take place before ever removing children from their parents, but I haven’t seen anything on this that would suggest otherwise. If children are abused by their parents, mentally or physically, then removing them should be a option, albeit as a last resort.

    Thumb up 0

  8. AlexInCT

    As Jim pointed out, the system they get put in can often be just as bad if not worse. In this case I agree with him Kimpost that kids that are removed from their parents just because they are “fat” are going to get hurt by this system. I expect a lot of them to get more damaged psychologically and very few, if any, to get any kind of help dealing with their obesity problems.

    Short of having a teen prison or military style environment where these kids are relentlessly worked out while their calorie count is constantly monitored, you are not going to have a bit of a chance to even make a dent. This thinking that all we need is to tell kids to eat more vegetables, less fat, and less food, while exercising more, is a pipe dream. When I was a kid we played outside. Now kids play inside, and then play involves manual dexterity and visual perception. Video and computer games are the kid’s new games. There are very few that play outside.

    This is all going to end wrong too. I would not be surprised they spend more time filling these kids heads with the usual nonsense the left already hammers into their mush skulls at school than they will do anything that will affect their obesity problem a bit. And that’s me being optimistic. It will likely be worse.

    Thumb up 0

  9. Seattle Outcast

    They have apparently forgotten that I have more guns than they do, but the revolution isn’t quite here yet….

    Thumb up 1

  10. CM

    Actually I think school is where kids can have a chance to find out where they might be going wrong at home (and vice versa in some areas, sure). If they are able to learn about healthy eating at school, they can possibly start to question where they are eating badly at home. Maybe even talk to their parents about it.

    Thumb up 0

  11. Kimpost

    Well, I certainly wouldn’t want things to get worse. Is this really a suggestion of removing kids “just because they are fat”, or is it about removing them from abusive parents?

    First you check the kid. How is he/she doing? How are the parents doing, financially, socially, mentally? If needed, can they be assisted? If there’s abuse, how do we make it stop? If nothing else helps, after having tried everything else, then taking the children might be the lesser of two evils.

    I fail to see what’s new here. Isn’t it just a question of adding another warning sign to the list? I’m sure teachers already react to black eyes. Perhaps even to malnourished children. Add extreme obesity to that watch list.

    Thumb up 0

  12. Seattle Outcast

    Yes, just what we need – the fascist little school system instructing the kids to go home and lecture their parents.

    You don’t think shit through, do you?

    Thumb up 2

  13. CM

    Having a bad day there SO?
    Oh well, I’m glad to live somewhere where the school system isn’t so fascist. Educating kids about food seems like a no-brainer to me. I’d hope kids gets at least some decent ideas about healthy eating from either home or school. If it doesn’t happen at home, school is really the only other place they’re going to get it.

    Thumb up 0

  14. Rann

    The problem with saying it’s just an issue of a slippery slope is in assuming that you’re at the top of the slope, looking down and pondering its slipperiness.

    But the fact is that the system has already expanded beyond its original reach. It’s no longer a question of removing children from just abusive parents, or unlivable environments, the scope has already broadened to encompass “unfit parents” and “unfit environments”, and it’s now moving towards “unhealthy”.

    We are not standing at the top of the slope and wondering how slippery it is, we’re halfway down it with our ass and back soaked and we’re picking up speed.

    Thumb up 0

  15. hist_ed

    Is this really a suggestion of removing kids “just because they are fat”, or is it about removing them from abusive parents?

    The article isn’t clear, but this seems to be an effort to equate one with the other (rasing fat kids mean you are an abusive parent). While I think parents that allow their young children to be obese are awful parents who need a few kicks in their (no doubt ample) asses, putting government into the role of ass kicker could be really bad.

    Thumb up 0

  16. hist_ed

    Most (Maybe all) states mandate health education in school. In Washington, we usually have a little every year in elementary school, then a semester long class in middle school (or junior high) and another class in high school. There really isn’t a standard curriculum, mostly guidelines, so districts have some flexibility in what they teach. It is not, however, supposed to be preachy or to get students to be yelling at their parents over health issues. Parents can opt out their kids out of the middle school and high school classes-few do so.

    Thumb up 0

  17. Seattle Outcast

    Maybe even talk to their parents about it.

    Just like D.A.R.E, which prodded kids to narc out their parent, this is exactly where you are headed.

    Day 1 is “talk to their parents about it”, Day 2 is “report them to the food police”…

    Thumb up 0

  18. hist_ed

    DARE-I haven’t thought about them for a while. I did a bunch of graduate work on DARE (not that this had anything to do with me teaching-I just had to go through the exercize of arcane research to get my degree). DARE doesn’t do a damn bit of good*. I guess my comment about liberal politics way up there in this thread doesn’t just apply to liberals but to anyone who is trying to get the sledgehammer of government to do anything.

    * Interestingly, the only concrete behavioral result I could discover was that for one group, DARE graduates had somewhat higher chance of trying pot in high school. Otherwise it has no lasting effect on students.

    Thumb up 0

  19. Rann

    I still remember a story about DARE I heard in elementary… could easily be urban legend, but it was amusing nonetheless… about the guy coming to give the speech, and then passing around two joints so everyone could know what they looked like and thus avoid them.

    “Now I better get all of these back, or NO ONE is leaving until I’ve found them!”

    By the time they’d been passed back, he was holding three.

    Thumb up 0

  20. hist_ed

    Yeah, one of the biggest problems with DARE is when it is introduced to kids who don’t really know about drugs (mostly affluent suburban districts). For some kids, the first person who introduces the idea of taking drugs is a uniformed police officer-who then shows them all the different types of drugs and tells them what they do.

    That is the population I referred to above. DARE actually increases drug use among males in affluent suburbs. It’s the only statistically significant behavioral effect I could find from the program.

    DARE says it is a success and that they have the surveys to prove it. Their surveys are of two types. The first is surveying parents and teachers about DARE. 80-90% of them always say that DARE is great. The other type of survey is to quiz DARE graduates about their knowledge of drugs-guess what, after 20 hours or so of instruction about drugs, kids know more about drugs. The problem that most drug warriors don’t understand (or pretend to not understand) is the more knowledge does not equal less use.

    I use my final paper as a writing sample for students (indenting and spacing, in text citations, what a works cited page looks like, etc.). While I never actually loudly proclaim my thesis (DARE is a failure), I get some funny questions as we go through it.

    Thumb up 0