Councils in Britain suggest obese children should be taken into care

The suggestion that children in Britain who are seriously overweight may be taken into care is a shocking indication of the scale of the problem in the UK.

The suggestion that such radical action is needed comes from the Local Government Association (LGA) who say allowing children to become obese could be viewed as a form of neglect equitable to under-nourishment and social services should be called in.

The LGA say dealing with the growing numbers of obese people is placing services under a great a strain and action must be taken.

The LGA says local councils are having to bear the cost to social services for caring for house-bound people suffering from illnesses that are the result of obesity, including arthritis, heart disease and diabetes.

They are also having to provide larger school furniture and gyms and canteens have to be modified for larger children.

The LGA says council equipment and infrastructure is having to be adjusted to deal with a population that is getting larger and larger, fire services are being called in to winch obese people out of dangerous buildings in emergencies and crematoria furnaces are having to be widened.

The LGA, which represents more than 400 councils in England and Wales, is warning of the potentially devastating impact of obesity and says as more children become obese it is the local authorities who will be forced to deal with the problem.

The LGA says while this is usually through offering help and advice to parents and keeping the welfare of children under review, there needs to be a national debate about the extent to which it is acceptable for local authorities to intervene in cases where the welfare of children is in jeopardy.

The LGA says councils were increasingly having to consider taking action where it was considered that parents were putting children's health in danger and as authorities would step in to deal with an under-nourished and neglected child dealing with a morbidly obese child is no different.

The LGA has called for councils, primary care trusts and the National Health Service to work with parents to prevent children from becoming overweight.

It is estimated that by 2012 one million children in England alone will be obese.

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