Childhood Obesity and Child Custody Modification

With child obesity on the rise, some are debating the need for child custody modification for obese children.

Child obesity is a continuing problem amongst our nation’s youth. A recent study found that roughly 17% of kids aged 2-19 are obese.

Some say that states need to take action against childhood obesity in the interest of protecting the lives of overweight children. The question is whether or not obesity can be considered neglect.

“[Child welfare agencies] look at children not fed at all as neglect,” says Dr. Cecil-Van Den Heuvel. “This is just a different form of neglect that most parents don’t recognize.

This issue is obviously very controversial. States are still trying to determine what the best course of action is, keeping the best interests of the children in mind.

“In Minnesota, there are no published appellate cases that rely on obesity as a sole reason to modify custody,” says MN Divorce Lawyer, Katie Lammers. “However, if a moving party could show that the child’s present environment endangers the child’s physical or emotional health or impairs the child’s emotional development, they may have grounds for child custody. If the movant was able to trace the endangerment back to obesity and then back to, perhaps, a parent’s continued refusal to follow a doctor’s advice, obesity may be grounds to support a modification of custody in Minnesota.”

 

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