Is Child Obesity a Child Protection Issue?

I have just completed some work on child obesity, which raised the question of whether it is a child protection issue.  From personal experience, obesity can be a warning sign for more than just nutritional problems within a family.  Therefore, I would be inclined to say that it is a child protection issue.  However, on reflection, every situation is different and a variety of factors need to be taken into consideration.  Although weight is primarily influenced by lifestyle, there can also be a genetic component.  Obesity can also be the result of an underlying illness.  Child obesity is a child protection issue when the parents fail to intervene when a weight problem is identified and the health implications are made aware to them.  Despite the mass of health information available today, some people still do not know the importance of good nutrition and physical activity.  There are still inequalities in health that are the result of health literacy and that need to be resolved via health education.  If a parent has low health literacy, then they are not equipped to help their child when weight becomes a problem.  On the other hand, if health care professionals do more than just point out a problem – for example, also provide information, guidance, and support – then it is abusive for parents not to intervene with improving their child’s health.  They say that knowledge is power; it is also responsibility.

Categories: Health

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