Menu
The Siemon Law Firm
Honest Answers.
866-497-5134
View Practice Areas

MD's View on Child Obesity and Custody Draws Strong Reactions

When Georgia courts look at the best interests of the child in child custody matters, they consider a number of factors that collectively influence their judgment. Those include identifying who is the primary caregiver; issues concerning parenting fitness; evidence of any abuse in the home; the preference of the child; where the parents live; opportunities for visitation; and a number of other matters.

A physician at the Harvard-affiliated Children's Hospital in Boston is now asking that another factor be added to the mix in certain instances, namely this: Is the child extremely obese?

In fact, Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist, says that the "best interest" standard dictates removal of a child from a home entirely and the loss -- for as long as it takes -- of parental custody to a government entity on the ground that intervention is required for the sake of health and safety.

That opinion, voiced in the most recent Journal of the American Medical Association, has brought a firestorm of response, mostly critical.

Benjamin Downs, a Georgia school social worker who routinely sees and works with obese children, says that the suggestion is radical and "ridiculous."

Downs concedes that obesity causes many problems for a child in terms of health and, often, being bullied at school, but removing the child from a home is short-sighted and the wrong focus.

"If anything," he notes, "you need to teach parents how to provide a healthy and balanced diet for their children, not take them away."

Other experts on the subject -- such as Dr. Stephanie Walsh, the medical director of Child Wellness at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta -- concur with that. Walsh says the focus needs to be on "helping families struggling with weight issues," not on separating families.

"You're not talking about parents who don't care about their kids," she says. The answer is in awareness and education, she states.

Related Resource: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Atlantans say taking obese kids from parents is wrong" July 13, 2011

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Contact our Georgia Family Law Firm by calling 866-497-5134 or by completing this contact form. An attorney will respond within 24 business hours.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

347 Dahlonega Street, Building 100
Cumming, GA 30040
Toll Free: 866-497-5134
Phone: 770-888-5120
Fax: 770-521-4317
Cumming Law Office Map

4555 Mansell Road, Suite 300, #28
Alpharetta, GA 30022
Phone: 770-521-4316
Fax: 770-521-4317
Alpharetta Law Office Map

3348 Peachtree Road Northeast, Suite 700, #721
Tower Place 200
Atlanta, GA 30326
Phone: 678-954-4917
Fax: 770-521-4317
Atlanta Law Office Map