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Fines for Parents of Obese Kids: Sensible or Scandalous?

The Short of It

A new bill is being debated in Puerto Rico that would fine parents of obese children who do not successfully help them lose weight.

The Lowdown

According to Time, 28 percent of Puerto Rican young people are significantly overweight. Lawmakers say this new legislation aims to deal with the country's obesity crisis.

If the bill is passed, school personnel will contact the parents of kids who are overweight and coordinate counseling for them. The child must follow the counselor's prescribed diet and exercise plan and lose weight. If after six months to a year no improvement is demonstrated, the parents will face a fine of up to $800.

Although it hasn't been signed into law, the proposed bill is already creating controversy, as some feel it unfairly targets obese kids.

The Upshot

While it seems like a good idea to encourage kids to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I'm not sure how I would feel as a parent if my child's school tried to interfere on a topic as sensitive as her weight.

Besides, the government has no way of knowing whether certain kids are actively working to lose weight. And helping families make healthy decisions is one thing; fining them for struggling to meet certain standards feels wrong.

What do you think? Is this law sensible or scandalous?

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