Amid growing concern about the growing problem of child obesity, the FTC's recent disclosure that U.S. companies spent $1.6 billion in 2006 on food ads targeting children comes as no surprise. To counter the ad onslaught, schools and local governments are scrambling to find programs, such as restrictive menus and information campaigns, to stem the tide of swelling waistlines.
Now some Brits are threatening a nuclear solution; the nuclear family, that is. According to The Independent, the Local Government Association (LCA), representing councils in England and Wales, is considering sending in teams of social workers to take obese children away from their parents and place them in public care facilities.
The LGA warns that parents who fail to control their children's eating habits and allow them to grow dangerously obese could be considered guilty of parental neglect, much as the parents of malnourished children.
This initiative runs contrary to the decision by England's national government recently to ban the use of the word 'obese' in warnings sent to the parents about their - plump? rotund? generously proportioned? Reubenesque? -- children.
Such draconian measures would come only after warnings and counseling, and I'd guess the Association is simply trying to whet the public's appetite for a serious discussion about the problem. England has already seen changes required due to growing obesity among children and adults, including larger school furniture, wider ambulances and more voluminous cremation furnaces.
Certainly child obesity is no joke, especially to the child. However, the problem doesn't begin with the person that empties the fridge. It starts with the people that stocks it, who are, most likely, in need of weight loss counseling as much as their children.