NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Extreme cases of obesity in children can now lead
to DCS intervention on grounds of child neglect.
A high-profile case recently made headlines in Ohio after social workers
took a 200 pound, eighth grader from his parents.
It has happened in Tennessee too. During the past five years, seven child
obesity cases have been referred to the Department of Children's
Services. In six of those cases, the child remained in the home, but one
child was placed in foster care.
"Of course we see obese kids," said Dr. Mary Keown, a Nashville
pediatrician. Dr. Keown said that in extreme cases she counsels the
parents about better nutrition and exercise for their children.
"But, at a certain point, if they don't comply it becomes medical
neglect," said Dr. Keown. And in extreme cases, doctors will contact
It's a serious health issue according to Dr. Keown, who said severe obesity
can lead to hypertension, diabetes, early stroke and death.
"The generation we bring up now may be the first that doesn't live
longer than we do," said Dr. Keown.