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Do Obese Kids Need to be Placed in Foster Care?

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(KATV) Since 1980, obesity rates have tripled among teens and children. Some experts say one way to manage it is to take the most severe overweight kids away from their parents.

The opinion was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and it's stirring up opinions right here in Arkansas.

Channel Seven spoke with parents who blame an unhealthy culture, to poor options at some food pantries and that some kids health conditions cause obesity. But not one person said breaking up a family is the solution.

Child obesity is unhealthy and can be life threatening, but should the government step in?

Wednesday, a commentary in one of the nation's most distinguished medical journals argues yes. Harvard Doctor David Ludwig explains, it should be for extreme cases, "When we have a 400 pound child with life threatening complications there may not be any great choices."

But Abigail Perrine walking out of the grocery store with health conscious food has her own opinion, "I think the government and schools should support local farmers and allow people to access the food more than they are now."

Stephano Sutherlin adds, "That's the last thing we should do is take away peoples children, that's a totally different war, I mean that's like World W II."

Sutherlin says Arkansas has the highest food insecurity in the nation and instead of disbanding a family, use the same energy and funding for education. "Once you start as a child you get bad habits, you're going to grow up as an adult with bad habits eating."

Darneshia Bell works with maltreated toddlers and says moving kids can add to mental health and obesity issue, plus in the courts the goal is to keep them out of foster care and with family. "It's just a matter of finding that balance with a family and giving them new habits, it can be bringing in a life coach, it can be bringing in homemaker services just to help them revamp what are current eating habits."

Bell also mentioned there's no guarantee the child will lose weight in the foster system that's already stretched to its limits.

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