Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Should the state intervene with child eating disorders?

This clip is from 18 Doughty Street last night where I was one of the guests on their sofa discussing obesity in children. I am a complete novice at TV appearances, so don't feel you have to watch it.


David Anthony said...

Brains and beauty, what more could you ask for. :)

There was a case last month of a dog owner being prosecuted for over feeding his dog. I don't see why children should be any different. I've never looked into the stats but I would imagine there is a direct link between the weight parents and that of their children.

I realise there are societal factors to be factored in too.

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

There was indeed a case of a dog owner in Cambridge, over feeding their pet. But the decision to remove a child from their biological parents is more complicated than separating a pet from an owner.
There is a link between obesity and lower socio-economic class. There are also genetic weight links within families. In this case it has been reported that the young boy has already lost a stone in a month and by the sounds of the reports his mum is very motivated to help him loose more. I guess changing his diet and behaviour long term will include adjusting to lifestyle changes. I certainly hope this story has a happy ending and he avoids the long term sequlae of his current excess weight. Thanks kindly for your comment. All the very best. Michelle

David Anthony said...

Yes, of course, prosecution should only be used as a last resort. We should do every thing possible first to help the child and the parents cope with and improve the situation. I saw the mother on tv and she clearly loves her son, but if things don't improve, then others should get involved ... for both their sakes.

Maalie said...

You looked very composed Michelle.

Anonymous said...

Thought you were brilliant. Well done Michelle.

Ian Lidster said...

It was so nice to see you as a lovely, articulate, living, breathing, speaking person. Of course, none of that was any surprise. Thank you for the clip and thank you for your thoughts on the issue.
I think the point about family eating patterns is a legitimate one in that, as suggested, obese parents almost invariably have obese children.
I noticed an item in the press the other day that mentioned that the most obese people in the world are to be found in Polynesia. We were in the Cook Islands (2nd worst in the world in terms of adiposity) and were astonished by the size of some of the people. But, they also had a diet very high in carbohydrates, rubbishy potted meats, mayonnaise (with everything), donuts, and so forth. Far, far away from any natural state.

jmb said...

Hi Michelle,
Looking good! This case is being discussed everywhere and in all the papers. Dr Anonymous, in his blog, said that there are 9 million children over 6 in the US considered obese. Are you going to take all those? And of course, where do the authorities stop once the thin edge of the wedge is in place. What will they tackle next.
You know, my ambition has always been to be a "talking head" on TV. An expert on something! I'm so jealous.

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

David - thanks for that - I have not seen any of them on the TV, but I do agree there does come a time to take action keeping the childs best interests paramount.

Maalie - Very kind of you.

Ian - thanks for the global perspective.

jmb - I am sure you are an expert on many things, I shall check out the blogs you have suggested - so thanks for the tip.

Thanks so much to you all for your comments, which are very appreciated.


Big Brother said...

Hello Michelle,
Just finished watching your clip. You were very good. very articulate. As Ian said it was fun to see you in action. As for the case of the obese children it's hard to decide just what to do about them. You are right, if you do that for obese children, you will have to do so for children who suffer from other eating disorders, such as bulimia and anorexia. Just how far can you go? Our western society pushes excess in many areas and food is one of the most flagrant. The fixation with super-sizing everything especially in the fast food industry is doing a tremendous amount of harm to the well being of society. Maybe it is time to do with them what was done with cigarettes and curb their worse excesses.

heiresschild said...

i never thought about this before, but it's definitely an issue to consider.

simon said...

forget all that...... I think I have fallen in love.....

Mallie when we meet in Spain we shall have to discuss over a Spanish beer.

(Michelle- seriously, I do have a very important question to ask on self-harmers and depression. Possible to ask some guidance?)


Anonymous said...

very very nice to see you in person as it were.Was this your first stint on the tele?
Enough has been said on this case I believe, everyone has the youngsters best interests at heart and he appears now to be getting the help he needs,as well as the parents so I hope it goes well for their future...

Anonymous said...

Congratulations for your debut on 18 Dought Street, I'm so impressed. Even The Times today reports about how France is launching a campaign today to tackle obesity as their numbers are soaring too.

Most people know what to eat, they lack the discipline and desire to eat low fat foods. Also, over eating compensates for problems in a person's life too.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the state should intervene with child eating disorders. Especially if it's a matter of life and death.

(Hi Michelle!!)

TryingTimes said...

In answer to your leading question:

When the Children Act - the single most important piece of child care legislation in England and Wales - clearly mandates that... "The welfare of the child shall at all times be held paramount" how can it be anything but beneficial towards the welfare of the child to threaten (and indeed act if threats of intervention fail to bring positive change) to take a child in to care - particularly when the child is clearly suffering from parental neglect, as in this case?


Steve & Barb said...

nice job! especially at pointing out the trouble with rendering opinions about a specific case.