SEATTLE – There are roughly 2 million obese children in the United States, prompting a suggestion by some doctors that children who are already suffering from obesity-related conditions should be removed from their homes.
An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association says the doctors believe placing the children in foster homes may save their lives.
Mandy LaFontaine and her family decided to go for a picnic Wednesday. Even on the go, she plans what her children will be eating.
Mandy says when she was young, her mother was all about convenience. She often ate fast food. It's a routine she refuses to let her kids grow accustomed to.
Instead, Mandy says she combs the aisles of the grocery store, on a limited budget, for deals on healthier foods.
Mandy can't understand how parents don't keep tabs on their children's weight. She supports taking obese children away their parents and temporarily placing them in foster care.
"Clearly, they need to be with a family who's gonna care about their health and not just now because they need a quick meal instead of later in life, when the health problems really do catch up with you,” Mandy said.
Bioethicist Dr. Doug Diekema with Seattle Children's Hospital said it's not that easy. There are a lot of things that parents don't have control over, including genetics and economics. He said it's easier to feed a family on cheaper, higher calorie foods and that sometimes the parents are doing the best they can.
"Just because you put a child in a different place doesn't guarantee weight loss,” said Diekema.
Furthermore, he says ripping a child from a loving home could have the reverse effect. They could become depressed and rely on food for comfort, resulting in weight gain. He says it's also not that easy forcing a child to exercise.
"Try to make a 15-year-old exercise when they don't want to. It's not that easy,” said Diekema.
Diekema said the emotional impact of ripping a child from a loving home has to be balanced against any medical benefits.
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