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Childhood Obesity Becomes Issue in Custody Cases

Childhood obesity has been a mainstay in the national media over the past year but was brought to a head in October when a 200 pound – year old Cleveland boy was removed from his home and mother. “This child’s problem was so severe that we had to take custody,” said Mary Louise Madigan of the county’s Department of Children and Family Services.

NBC’s John Yang reports on a more recent case in Chicago, one that potentially will decide the parental custody of a child. Conan Angus, going through a divorce, has brought up the fact that his children are healthier when under his care. Mr Angus points to his soon to be ex-wife’s poor nutritional choices for their children’s meals.

The incidents in Cleveland and Chicago are hardly isolated leading journalists and reporters to wear out the now 3-year old CDC statements on the issue:

  • The percentage of children ages 6 – 11 in the U.S. who were obese went from 7 percent in 1980 to almost 20 percent in 2008.
  •  The percentage of those 12 to 19-years of age who were obese increased from 5 percent to 18 percent over the same period (1980 – 2008).
  • In 2008, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

While courts are not allowed to side with the parent with the most wealth and family privacy is an area deeply protected by the constitution, parents continue to push the issue during divorce discussions. This could have a damaging effect on top of divorce stress, it’s possible that adding food related issues into the breakup could have long term eating disorder effects.

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January 2nd, 2012

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