Social workers take children from families who overfeed them
OBESE children have been taken from their families by social workers because of fears that overfeeding was wrecking their health.
By: Matthew Davis
Published: Sun, December 29, 2013
OBESITY There are concerns regarding overfeeding damaging the health of children OBESITY: There are concerns regarding overfeeding damaging the health of children [GETTY/MODEL USED]
One child had a BMI measurement of 35, which for a six-foot man would mean weighing 19st.
Britain's obesity epidemic, which sees NHS hospitals dealing with 1,000 cases every day, is a reversal of the traditional problem when children were undernourished. Increasingly social workers find youngsters being fed a high-fat, sugary diet, which can be just as bad for their health.
The phenomenon is known as "killing with kindness" because the child craves the unhealthy food and a loving parent feels unable to say no.
Professionals say they have to make complex decisions in care proceedings and a family's gross over-eating can be one of the factors that leads to them losing their children.
A Sunday Express survey of councils found that in the past year five children were taken from their families for that reason: two in Wake-field, West Yorkshire, one in Oxfordshire, one in Salford and one in Hounslow, London.
The previous 12 months saw five similar cases in Sheffield, Portsmouth, Lincolnshire, Slough and Harrow, London.
A social worker said: "Only in extreme cases would we take a child into care just because of their weight as we would seek to work with the family to improve their eating habits."
Ex-Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson warned in 2006 that health chiefs would look at removing children from their families if they became super-sized, risking their health.
The first reported case took place in 2007 when an eight-year-old girl from Cumbria, who had to wear size 16 clothes, was taken into care weighing 10st.
The nation's obesity problems have also been uncovered in figures from hospitals in England showing there were 356,072 individual care sessions last year where the patient was deemed to be suffering from obesity or an illness or injury that could have been brought on by being too fat.
It is the first time the NHS has released the statistics in this way and shows how the nation's bulging waistlines are putting extra stress on hospitals' limited resources.
Separate figures from hospitals show a 10-fold increase in obesity-related cases in the past 10 years and a sharp surge in fat-fighting operations, such as gastric banding, on the NHS.
The statistics on hospital care, released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show women are twice as likely as men to be seen for health problems linked to obesity. The average age of such patients is 53.
Fat patients now outrank breast cancer, epilepsy and glaucoma sufferers in the number of sessions they need for treatment.
Conservative MP Priti Patel said 45 youngsters aged 17 or under had fat-fighting operations in the past five years. "There is an obesity crisis and health services, councils and the Government must take a joined-up approach to resolve it," she said.
A Department of Health spokesman said: "England has one of the highest rates of obesity in the western world and it causes dangerous and life-limiting health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
"But this is not just a matter for Government. We look to industry, health professionals and voluntary groups to work jointly to help individuals improve their diet and lifestyles."