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Hefty parental issues

POSTED December 16, 2011 8:58 p.m.

Is your kid overweight?
Be careful, the "state" may just come after you as a bad parent.
I weighed 285 pounds at the start of seventh grade as a 12-year-old.
If I was in Ohio and it was 2011, bureaucrats hired by the state could use that as a reason to remove me from the care of my mother.
That's based on Ohio's decision to remove a 9-year-old boy who weighed 200 pounds from his mother's custody.
It is a move that essentially puts parents on footing as firm as quicksand. Perhaps there is a big difference between a 200-pound 9-year-old and a 285-pound 12-year-old. Perhaps there isn't.
My mom had to essentially work the equivalent of two jobs after our father died when I was 9. She was left with four kids to raise without any savings. That left me alone a lot to fend for myself.
Whoops, leaving a 9-year-old alone after school and sometimes at night helping watch a sister who was six years younger would qualify as child endangerment in today's world.
Isn't it amazing how the people who survived the Great Depression and World War II and then helped launch the greatest expansion ever of technology basically did "horrible" things such as work as a child and help take care of their siblings? One wonders how the government restrained itself from not arresting pioneers heading west from subjecting their kids to child abuse.
I - of all people - get the fact that weighing too much is not a good thing. I dropped 90 pounds by the time I was in the eighth grade. After high school, I managed to slowly gain it all back until I reached 320 pounds on my 29th birthday. By the time I turned 30 I was down to 195. Today I weigh 165 pounds. I probably eat healthier than almost every Child Protection Services employee or the people who advocate and adopt laws hammering parents. I probably also exercise a lot more and would venture to say I probably would have no problem falling within government "standards" for height, weight, blood pressure pulse rate, and cholesterol.
Being significantly overweight didn't make me unhealthy in later life.
I was the only one in my family who was overweight growing up. My oldest brother was skinnier than a rail until the end of high school. He passed away two years ago. It was from a heart attack but the coroner determined the overriding cause was morbid obesity. Should the government have saved him from himself?
Mom smoked two packs a day until she went cold turkey when I was in the fourth grade. Why? I'd been nagging her because the smell would make me sick but I'd venture given the circumstances she probably did it to save money as well as worrying about four kids to raise by herself.
Yet, there have been cases where CPS would consider that an unhealthy environment in citing the need to remove children from a parent's care.
It wasn't healthy but I'd argue that being exposed to all of that - as well as the physical and emotional baggage that being severely overweight carries with it when you're a kid - probably did a heck of a lot more good than harm in the long run.
That obviously isn't the case with everyone.
We're not machines. We are people. Different things work out for different people.
Where does the government have a right to decide on issues like weight that a parent is unfit?
You can make a case about a 200-pound 9-year-old but just remember once a precedent is set they could make a case for removing a 160-pound 9-year-old or a 285-pound 12-year-old.
It is true that generally excess weight is detrimental to your health.
The weight we need to get rid of, though, is the army of bureaucrats empowered to interfere with people's lives to the point that they play the ultimate food cops.

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