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Title: Morbid obesity in children and the law
Authors: Romeo Malanda, Sergio 
Nicolás, P.
UNESCO Clasification: 320610 Enfermedades de la nutrición
Keywords: Criminal Liability
Legal Guardianship
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Wageningen Academic Pub.
Abstract: The meaning of the proclamation of the Rights of the Childhood in relation to the diet is connected primarily with the problem of malnutrition, but other situations may arise where the health of children is not affected by food shortages, but by a damaging diet. In this regard, the increase of childhood obesity in Spain is spectacular and disturbing: 15 years ago, 5% of Spanish children were obese; this proportion is 16% nowadays, showing an obvious public health problem that requires the adoption of immediate measures of health, educational and legal nature. Actually, perceptions of parental blame have become so widespread, that some child protection agencies have gone as far to suggest removing obese children from their families. In this sense, in Spain, in 2009, the Public Administration decided to remove an obese boy from his family by social workers because of his weight. This case, and other of similar nature in other countries, brings up fundamental issues about our perceptions of obesity and how to improve public health, but it has also opened a debate on many other issues, including that about a certain similarity between malnutrition and abuse or, at least, neglect. To address this problem is important: (a) to know the duties of those in custody of a child in relation to diet; (b) to establish some criteria to evaluate the fulfilment of those duties and to identify a situation of helplessness; (c) to assess the child's interests in order to take the appropriate decisions by the authorities; (d) to analyse the proportionality of the measures and their possible extension, by analogy, to other situations; (e) and finally, to analyse the extent of the legal liability (especially civil and criminal) of those who neglect their duties.
ISBN: 978-90-8686-154-5
DOI: 10.3920/978-90-8686-710-3
Source: Global Food Security: Ethical and Legal Challenges: EurSafe 2010 Bilbao, Spain 16-18 September 2010 / Carlos María Romeo Casabona (coord.), Leire Escajedo San Epifanio (coord.), Aitziber Emaldi Cirión (coord.), p. 176-183, (Diciembre 2010)
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