Obese boy to stay with mother


An eight-year-old boy who weighs nearly 200 pounds will stay with his mother. He could have been taken into protective custody.

I’m not a parent, but it seems to me that Ms. McKeown is transferring the blame for her son’s obesity to her son. ‘It’s not my fault he’s fat. I have to give him food he likes.’ I suspect that Ms. McKeown also doesn’t like fruits and vegetables; and that she won’t eat more healthfully, thus encouraging her son to eat unhealthfully. But I’m guessing.

If a kid ‘refuses to eat healthy food’, is it okay to ‘starve’ him? Not literally starve him, but offer him healthy foods that he mightn’t prefer and let him not eat it until he gets hungry enough?

I think that’s what she should do. He’ll eat when he gets hungry enough. With some effort, she’s going to be able to give him foods that are tasty and good for him. It won’t be easy to break the bad habits she’s created, but if she weans him off the crap food, he’ll get used to eating right.

Month 1: Cut his caloric intake from 3000 per day to 2000 per day. Substitute bran cookies for box of Ding-Dongs. Substitute plain broiled chicken for Whoppers.

Month 2: Cut out the soft drinks. He can drink water, a little juice, and skim milk.


That whole family needs to revise their eating habits! I agree, Johnny L.A. I don’t think the mother has healthy eating habits either. I think she’s also in denial, she’s a co-dependent, and enabling him makes her feel needed. She needs counseling, and they need a very strict live in nutritionist. They need to din it into the mother’s head, that even the act of buying the junk food is further risking her son’s health.

Far too much negativity here, when he’s already lost over 20lb since Christmas!


So it seems to me… if he’s that obese, it’s not so much what he’s eating that’s the problem as it is how much he’s eating. I mean, what he’s eating is a problem too, of course.

But am I wrong?


Sounds like the child protection agency over there needs a heaping cup of MYOB. A fat child is not a neglected or abused child. If the UK agencies are anything like the ones in this country, they have limited resources and should spend them on children that are actually being neglected or abused.

Forgot to add…quantity is everything. So is exercise. She needs to put a rigid schedule together so this kid can start rebuilding his habits from the ground up.

Holy, uh, cow! I’m not sure exactly how a kid gets to that point. I don’t have time to read the article at the moment, so if it’s explained therein, my apologies. Having been uber picky as a child, I’m the first one to sympathize with not liking many things. Let’s face it, broccoli and brussel sprouts aren’t very appealing to most kids’ sensibilities. I just find it hard to believe she couldn’t introduce some kind of marginally healthy things that the kid would find palatable. Fruit is sweet, for cying out loud. What about oatmeal? Even mac and cheese out of a box would be preferable to fast food. Maybe I should read the article before I pass judgement, but this woman sounds incredibly irresponsible if not downright unfit.

I disagree. It is a form of neglect. She’s neglecting his health. He’s not just fat; he’s obese. That is a threat to his life and is a threat that can be controlled. She’d be in trouble if she wasn’t using a car seat. Same difference with this issue.

Was he in his parents’ house when he lost that weight, or in a children’s home where he didn’t have handy enablers?

I don’t think you’re wrong. If he was eating 1500 calories a day in ice cream he’d be much healthier than if he was eating 3000 calories a day in ice cream. All right, so he doesn’t like eating fruits or vegetables and prefers processed foods. That’s fine. Feed him ten Lean Cuisines a day and he’s still going to lose weight. Let him eat two bowls of cereal for breakfast and hot dogs for lunch and McDonald’s for dinner–that is still not enough in calories to maintain that sort of weight in a child his age.

Not so sure about that. One can pig out on veggies and get very few calories. One simply needs to learn to love veggies. They should become the main dish in this family’s meals, with the meat and taters (or bangers and mash?) becoming side dishes.

Still, overeating anything is not good.

Somewhere between “fat” and “200 pounds at eight years old” is neglect.

See, I have a huge problem with that line of thinking. The government should not be allowed to mandate height/weight standards and snatch kids from parents that don’t enforce them.

Oakminster, what you aren’t realizing is that with children it is different. Who buys the food for them? Who cooks it, and who gives it to them? Who enables them to continue to eat in such excess? They don’t even get a chance to develop healthy eating habits in some cases, and this is wrong. Parents have a responsibility to teach their children many things, and some degree of healthy eating habits is one of the things it is their duty to instill. Statistically it has been found that children who are overweight go on to have more health problems, and be obese later in life. This is a problem, because where do you think the funds to pay for their healthcare comes from, especailly in the U.K.? It isn’t a simple matter of minding one’s own business, not in this case, because tax dollars and goverment funding cannot continue to support this indefinitely.

Someone needs to show the mother this. The stories are strikingly similar, down to the “he refused to eat fruit and vegetables, there was nothing we could do” quote.

I don’t see that it is different. This child is not being beaten, and he clearly ain’t going hungry. He attends school, has clean clothes, and apparently gets medical attention. He’s got things a lot better than many kids. My issue here is all about whether government interference is appropriate, and on these facts, I do not believe it is.

In my work, I see kids that are actually abused and neglected. I’m talking about cases where mommy or daddy decides that an iron, or a stove eye is an appropriate disciplinary device. Cases where sex abuse occurs. Cases where the child lost some of his hearing because the parent wouldn’t take the child to a doctor for an ear infection. Real abuse/neglect. A fat kid just isn’t in the same category in my book.

So when it comes to physical violence, providing food, education, cleanness of attire and medical attention, the government should be allowed to set standards and snatch kids from parents who don’t enforce them, but when it comes to other serious issues such as obesity, it shouldn’t? Why?

I get what you’re saying, and I agree with you on many levels, but the same argument can be made for a million other things that parents are not allowed to decide for their children, independently from government busy-bodying. Why exclude this and not exclude education, immunization, and a gazillion other things we know are good for kids?

Now, this particular issue is going to be hard to draw a line on, i.e., how much weight loss is enough, how much exercise is enough, and I don’t believe that the authorities should be able to “snatch” the child away, but I do think that there should be some sort of supervisory body that can train this parent on how to provide more healthful food and to stress the importance of exercise.

I think we can agree that this parent is neglectful on some level AND agree that the government can only have so much say-so in what a parent does with their children. It is a matter of opinion. I mean, if this kid dies of fatness, can or should the parent be charged with a crime?

This isn’t just a fat kid, this kid is massively obese and heading for serious health problems. I fail to see how the extent of this neglect of his health is any less serious or harmful than feeding this kid cigarettes or bottles of gin.