A ten-year-old boy who weighed over 70 kilograms has died of morbid obesity. He weighed almost double what he should have and despite the intervention of the Department of Community Services and the NSW Department of Education and Training, he is the latest victim of a new form of child abuse: over-feeding.
When the boy was seven he presented at John Hunter Children's Hospital in Newcastle suffering from the effects of obesity. Doctors gave his parents a weight-management plan however the boy gained another six kilograms in the six weeks after he was discharged. That was over two years ago.
On September 17 the boy was found slumped on the lounge not breathing. He was rushed to hospital and doctors were able to revive him but 12 minutes without oxygen to his brain meant he had suffered a massive brain injury.
He was placed on life support but died 12 days later.
Over-feeding has become a new form of child abuse. Doctors are seeing an increasing number of children suffering from obesity and the responsibility is being placed squarely on parents.
We make sure your children look for cars when they cross the road, we make sure they are dressed warmly during cold weather, we tend to cuts and grazes...what we feed our children is just as, if not more important than all the love and care we give them and this is being highlighted by this tragedy.
An inquest is taking place with Newcastle Coroner's Court examining the boy's death, the role his parents played in his death and the role the Department of Family and Community Services and the NSW Department of Education and Training.
Fairfax media reports the inquest has heard that the boy had a long list of health problems. Sadly it has been revealed that his parents were drug users. The boy was the subject of four 'risk of harm' reviews by Family and Community Services between 2008 and 2010 but for some reason the department decided not to pursue the case. They felt they had other cases in which the children were in greater danger.
For those who don't believe over-feeding is a form of child abuse, cast your eye over the health issues this boy suffered before his death:
* Sleep apnoea;
* Several missed doctors appointments:
* A recommendation that he have his tonsils and adenoids removed to help him breathe was not pursued;
* He missed 103 days of school due to his health this year.
His quality of life was pathetic. He deserved more.
It's time morbid childhood obesity was taken just as seriously as other forms of child abuse. Neglect is neglect, no matter what form it takes.
The sad fact is that government departments are stretched and despite the intervention of doctors and teachers, this little boy's life is over.
We must do better than this.
Do you believe not feeding your children healthy food or limiting their intake is a form of child abuse?