8 year old 88.9 kilogram boy in UK may be taken into care

A primary school child in Britain is facing the possibility of being taken into care because of his obesity.

Eight year old Connor McCreaddie, from Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne weighs 88.9 kilograms, three times the average for his age, and could be taken into care if his mother fails to improve his diet.

It seems the youngster has already broken four beds and five bicycles because of his obesity and faces being placed on an at risk register along with victims of physical and sexual abuse.

Connor's family claim they have a history of intolerance to fruit or vegetables and this week his mother and grandmother will attend a formal child protection conference to decide his future, which could lead to proceedings to take him into care.

The intervention of social services in such an issue is a landmark in the fight against youth obesity.

Connor's mother, 35-year-old Nicola McKeown, says if Connor is taken into care it will be the worst scenario there could be.

Ms McKeown says Connor refuses to eat healthy food such as fruit or vegetables and until recently was snacking every 20 minutes and eating eating three large meals a day.

Ms McKeown hopes the conference will provide strategies so that Connor avoids being placed on an at risk register.

At one stage he weighed 98.9 kilograms and is forced to wear adult clothes because school uniforms which fit him cannot be found.

Connor has apparently missed school because he cannot manage the short walk to school without getting breathless.

The conference will include two specialist obesity nurses, a consultant paediatrician, the deputy head of Connor’s school, a police officer and at least two social workers who will decide what action should be taken.

National Health Service officials say various attempts to arrange for Connor to meet with community and paediatric nutritionists, public health experts, school nurses and social workers to weigh and measure him and to address his diet, have been missed.

Taking a child into care or putting him on the child protection register is clearly the last resort and not a course of action the authorities undertake lightly.

Connor's obesity is being viewed as a form of neglect as the long term effects of his obesity put him at risk of diabetes and other major health problems and reflect a lack of parental responsibility.

Experts say such obesity in a child is abuse.

The proportion of under-11s who are obese in England and Wales rose from 9.9 per cent in 1995 to 13.4 per cent in 2004, and signs of heart disease and diabetes are said to be soaring among the young.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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