Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Fascist Britain

Child of five taken from parents for being obese: Social workers say they didn't do enough to control weight. "Danger to health" is given as the reason but the obese live roughly as long as slim people so that is fraudulent

A five-year-old has become one of the youngest children to be taken into care for being obese, it emerged last night. Social workers decided the parents were doing too little to bring the youngster’s weight under control.

The child, whose identity is protected by law, had a body mass index of 22.6 – clinically obese for a five-year-old. He or she is thought to have weighed around 4st 4lb – a stone and a half more than average.

The decision was taken by officials at Tameside Council in Greater Manchester. The local authority has also taken a 14-year-old into care, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The teenager had a BMI of 30.3, giving a weight of 13 stone – five stone more than average.

Another child was removed by Sunderland council, but officials refused to provide details of their age or weight, claiming it would breach data protection laws.

The Freedom of Information request sent to all local authorities asked how many children, in the past financial year, have been taken into care where obesity was cited as a contributing factor. The vast majority responded and where care proceedings were instigated, gave general neglect as the reason.

In the previous year, 2009/10, four children were taken into care for obesity reasons: three from the London borough of Lewisham aged three, ten and 15, and an 11-year-old from Northumberland.

In September this year, social workers in Dundee provoked outrage by removing four obese children from their parents. Three girls aged 11, seven and one and a boy of five were placed into care to be ‘fostered without contact’ or adopted.

The most recent NHS figures show that one in ten children starting primary school is obese. Overweight children are at far higher risk of heart disease, strokes, diabetes, asthma and cancer in later life.

Experts predict that obesity will cost the Health Service up to £6.3billion a year by 2015.

Sir Liam Donaldson, the former Chief Medical Officer, warned in 2006 that healthcare chiefs would look at removing children from their families if they became so obese their health was at risk.

The first reported case came in 2007 when an eight-year-old girl from West Cumbria was taken into care weighing ten stone.

In 2008, seven children were removed from homes in England. These included a six-year-old boy from Derby, an eight-year-old girl from Cumbria who had to wear size 16 clothes, and children from Lincolnshire, Wolverhampton and Tower Hamlets in London.

A spokesman for the National Obesity Forum said it supported placing obese children into care, but only after everything possible had been done to try to reduce their weight.

Social workers use their professional judgment about how best to keep children from harm’ ‘We sincerely hope that such occasions would be rare…but make the point that this would be the automatic response to a child at the other extreme – severe malnutrition,’ the spokesman said.

A spokesman for Tameside Council said: ‘The point at which obesity turns into a child-protection issue is a complex and difficult area, and in these two cases there were other determining factors that led to the children being placed in local authority care.

‘Parents should be supported to address their child’s obesity, and social workers should only act if parents fail to engage with the proposed plan to improve their child’s safety and wellbeing.’

David Simmonds, of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: ‘Social workers use their professional judgment about how best to keep children from harm.’


Australia: Queensland Government plan for fast-food calorie counts to beat obesity

The evidence that this has zero effect on what people eat doesn't bother anyone, of course

FAST-FOOD chains will be forced to display the calorie count of every burger, fries and soft drink in the latest attack in the war against obesity.

New rules to be announced today will give customers the chance to weigh up the nutritional value of meals before ordering their meal over the counter - and whether their waistlines can handle the super-sized option.

The legislation being drafted by the Bligh Government means fast-food outlets must display the energy content of all items on their menus. The scheme has targeted super-sized servings that can almost chew up the recommended daily energy intake in one meal.

Customers will be confronted with the daunting kilojoule content - the energy value of food - of items under new-look menu boards in a bid to drive them towards healthier meal choices.

Some meal deals contain more than half the average adult daily limit of 8700 kilojoules. Kilojoule counts would be listed beside every item of sale, including meal deals. The average daily kilojoule limit must also be displayed on menus.

The recommended average energy intake for a six-year-old is about 6700 kilojoules a day, and about 7600 kilojoules a day for a 10-year-old. A Happy Meal at McDonald's can contain up to 2800kj.

It is expected the law will apply to fast-food and snack food chains with more than 20 outlets in the state, or 50 outlets nationally.

Health Minister Geoff Wilson said it was about helping people eat healthier, with obesity rates now as high as one in five Queenslanders. "If current trends continue, it is expected that about two- thirds of Queensland adults will be overweight or obese by 2020," he said.

Heart Foundation chief executive Cameron Prout said the move would help people make more informed choices. "It is not just the usual suspects in terms of offering unhealthy meals," he said. "There are a lot of meals that people think are healthier but might be surprised when they see how many kilojoules are in them."

The laws will be introduced early next year, but the Heart Foundation hopes the plan would gain support from both main parties in the case of an early election.

More than four million Australians buy from fast food outlets each day and many already feature some nutritional information.

Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr Richard Kidd urged lawmakers to go even further by forcing fast-food chains to list items such as fat content on menu boards. "The AMA along with a lot of other health groups is very concerned at the epidemic of obesity, particularly in our children, and we are now seeing Type 2 diabetes appearing in our children, which is just dreadful," he said.

"It doesn't matter what age you are, by the time you develop diabetes your risk of having a heart attack is the same as someone who has already had a heart attack and we are inflicting this on our children now."

Childhood obesity expert Professor Geoff Cleghorn, from the University of Queensland, said the plan was a positive step forward in the battle of the bulge.


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