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Childhood Obesity: Is it Abuse?

Have you seen this story about the South Carolina mom charged with criminal neglect of her obese 14-year-old son?

Some background to the case: She's a single mom with multiple jobs, and admits that often she only has time for – or can afford – fast food. Her son admits to eating several lunches at school each day without her knowledge. He's now in foster care, and mother and son aren't allowed contact.

Aren't felony charges too strict, here? In other states, similar cases went to court, but parents were never given jail time, and the family was offered health and fitness counseling. For all the resources spent prosecuting this mom, couldn't that money be spent giving this family the medical attention and counseling that can change both of their lives for the better? (By the way, what kind of medical attention is this kid getting in foster care?)

I guess the real question is: To what extent can parents be held accountable for their children's health, especially after a certain age?

Can't wait to hear what everyone thinks about this one!

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