18 February 2015
Obesity in Children – Are Parents to Blame?
The term Parental Responsibility refers to your legal rights in relation to your child/children. For example, you are the one to make decisions about where they live, where they go to school and what medical treatment they should have etc.
But what about your child’s eating habits? Who has the responsibility for those?
It is arguable that you, the parents, are responsible for keeping your child within a normal healthy weight for their age. After all, you are the ones that do the food shop so surely you are responsible for the food you put in your shopping trolley?
But what happens if the food you feed your child is healthy, yet your child appears to pile on the pounds? For all you know, your child could secretly raid the fridge in the middle of the night or have second helpings of school dinners without you knowing. They may even be eating excessive amounts of junk food at friends’ houses. How would you know?
Common sense says Parental Responsibility extends to keeping your child healthy in terms of a healthy balanced diet. But when a child becomes obese through a condition that may have come from their genetic background as opposed to food, is it the parents fault that their child needs a bigger school uniform than their friends of the same age?
An article published in the BBC News Magazine talks about the possibility of fining parents if their children are obese. The article talks about the latest UK figures that show 24.7% of adults are obese and 14% of children in England aged between 2 and 15 are obese compared with 17% of children in Scotland and 19% of children in Wales being obese.
Statistics from the National Child Measurement Programme England for 2013/14 state that over a fifth of children at reception age were either overweight or obese which was more than the year before. It also states that of year 6 children, around a third were either overweight or obese which was again higher than the year before.
As parents, there are ways you can control your child’s eating habits by putting them on packed lunches with healthy food and snacks for example or by leaving out the junk food.
You can even encourage exercise by getting your children to join sports clubs etc., but at the end of the day there is only so much you can do to encourage your child to have a healthy lifestyle.
If you have any questions about what your Parental Responsibilities are from a legal perspective, Family Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers are experts in child law issues.
Charlotte Percy is a Family Law Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Call our expert Family Solicitors 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9055 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.
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