Monday, March 24, 2008

Scottish social workers threaten to take fat children from the home

Social workers in Dundee Scotland have given a family a three-week deadline for their children to lose weight or be removed from the home. According to an article in The Scotsman, the family has been ordered to send the children to dance and football (U.S. soccer) lessons, at their own expense, or lose the children. Another parent in the same city is threatened with the same.

The children's weights are given in stone (1 stone=14 lbs in U.S.) but not their heights.

The article gives the usual rundown of the "epidemic," citing Scotland as the second fattest country after the U.S. (oh those crazy Americans...) They even claim that it "has already forced some as young as 13 to seek NHS weight-loss surgery. "

Yup, 13 year olds getting their stomach stapled. That sounds like a good idea. Can't see anything going wrong with that plan.

These statistical claims actually confuse "fattest country" and "country most obsessed with fat". The WHO (which has it's own particular conflict of interest issues when it comes to fat) puts the U.S. at number 9, after Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Samoa, Palau, and Kuwait. Hmmm...that means that the fattest countries are in Southeast Asia....but hey, that can't possibly mean that there are racial and genetic components to weight. As one of the comments on The Scotsman article put it:

"Nazi Social worker: I see that your child falls outwith the Normal spectrum
Poor Parent: What's the normal spectrum?
Nazi Social worker: We have compiled a normal range by measuring Arian type people. On average your child must be blonde, blue eyed, 6ft tall and have a BMI of 25 or under. I'm afraid your child doesn't conform, we must take him away for "correction".
Poor Parent: Um, we're of Afro-Caribbean stock. Good luck with that...."

Read the rest of the comments at risk to your own stock of sanity watchers points. I'll sum up: There are some supportive, a lot of "this is none of the government's business," one that suggests fat people eat puppies, and a lot of misguided "caring" people who think this is excessive, but still thinks the children should be put on diets.


orodemniades said...

This doesn't surprise me in the least. Britain is very size phobic, and in the area of Scotland where I lived, being beyond thin was the norm. How thin? Well, Kate Moss would have been on a diet - and how I wish I were joking when I typed that. I saw someone nearly drive off the road whilst staring at two teenagers in miniskirts who were anorexic (there's a very clear physical difference between 'I'm genetically this way' and 'I look like I could have come straight from Dachau, 1942'.

As a fat woman there, it was decidedly scary. Thankfully, as a foreigner, nobody bothered me too much about it apart from my MIL.

pau loa said...

What I want to know, is what happens when the children are taken and then its found that no matter how little they are given to eat or how much exercise they are made to do...that they still don't lose all the weight and become perfect little kids. with extra perfect because they got them away from their horrible parents that were making them fat.

Lots of things make me angry, especially with discrimination against fat people. But of all the things that go on this one really pisses me off. I don't even have kids, but may there be a special hell for anyone who threatens them (or me about them) like this when/if I do have them. I will surely send them to it.