Video: Is obesity child abuse?

updated 3/5/2007 11:52:32 AM ET 2007-03-05T16:52:32

A local authority is due to go to court on Monday seeking a care order over an obese eight-year-old boy who officials had threatened to take away from his family because of concerns about his weight.

Social workers decided last week to allow Connor McCreaddie, who weighs almost 200 lb (90 kg), to remain at home with his mother blamed for overfeeding him with junk food.

McCreaddie’s mother says her son will not eat healthy food like fruits and vegetables and had rejected a suggestion that she put a lock on the fridge.

On Monday, a judge will consider a care application order brought by North Tyneside Metropolitan Council which said it could not reveal details of what conditions it was seeking because of legal reasons.

McCreaddie’s plight has prompted intense media interest in Britain where politicians, doctors and the public are becoming increasingly concerned about rising child obesity levels.

The council had considered taking him into care amid concerns that his weight could cause health problems.

But it said after last week’s meeting with Connor and his mother Nicola McKeown, 35, that he should stay at his home in Wallsend, Newcastle.

“We have had a useful discussion today during which all agencies and the family confirmed that the priority in this matter is the eight-year-old boy,” the council said in a statement.

“The Local Safeguarding Children Board was able to confirm that its hope and ambition is to enable this child to remain with his family.”

Single mother McKeown who suffers from depression, had dismissed allegations she had been neglecting her son, who is four times the healthy weight of same-age children and was even heavier at 218 lb (99 kg) before Christmas.

Connor has lost one-and-a-half stone since the start of the year after his mother sought advice from health workers and a dietician.

With studies showing Britain has the worst rate of obesity among children in Europe, the country’s media regulator plans to ban television advertising for junk food aimed at school-age children from next year.


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