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Friday, July 1, 2022

America's Expanding Waistline

    Everything in America is getting bigger. Men, women and children are getting heavier and require larger toilets, seat-belt extensions, bigger furniture, oversized theater seats, wider revolving doors, scales that go beyond 300 and even wide-body caskets. The U. S. government has gotten as fat and unhealthy as the American people and seems unable to trim itself or its citizens.

The Case of the Obese Boy

     In October 2011 Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Children and Family Service workers took an 8-year-old Cleveland Heights boy from his mother because the child weighed 200 pounds. A judge approved the seizure on grounds the mother's inability to get her son's weight down amounted to medical neglect. County workers were alerted to the boy's excessive weight early the previous year after his mother took him to an emergency room with breathing problems. Doctors diagnosed the child as suffering from sleep apnea and issued the family a breathing machine. After working with the boy's mother for twenty months, the agency placed the grossly overweight boy into foster care.

     The attorney representing the distraught mother told reporters that the foster mother was having trouble keeping up with all of the boy's medical and governmental appointments. As a result the county assigned a social worker to help the foster mom. A few days later the boy's real mother, an elementary school teacher, publicly stated that she had done her best to limit her son's access to food. She didn't want her boy to be obese and sick and did not feel his condition was a result of neglect or bad parenting.

     The government's removal of this child from his home set off a national debate over governmental authority and discretion versus parental rights. The weight of public opinion seemed to be with the mother. Perhaps that was because three million children in the country were extremely obese. Moreover, it was hard enough keeping kids away from cigarettes, drugs, pornography, pedophiles and alcohol. Controlling their eating habits, particularly in a glutinous culture of junk food and soft drinks, was easier said than done.

     This boy from Cleveland Heights is real person and a sad story. His story, while in the extreme, represents what is taking place regarding the health of our country. The government is big, bloated and unhealthy and so are its people.  

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