This is London Magazine
March 23, 2008

Six young brothers and sisters face being taken from their parents and put into care because they are overweight.

Social workers have warned they will intervene if three of the youngsters – including a 12-year-old boy who weighs 16 stone – do not shed several pounds in three months.

The parents have been told they risk losing all their children if there is no improvement in the 12-year-old or two of his sisters aged 11 and three – who weigh 12 stone and four stone – by June.

The family have also been ordered to send their children to dance and football lessons to help them lose weight.

The shocking development highlights Britain’s childhood obesity crisis, which has already forced those as young as 13 to seek NHS weight-loss surgery.

Only America has more overweight children than the UK, leading health experts to warn that our current generation of youngsters may not outlive their parents.

But critics last night described the intervention of social workers as “deeply worrying” and questioned their powers to break up families.

Dr Colin Waine, of the National Obesity Forum, said: “This has to be a last resort.

“We must understand the health dangers associated with obesity, but the approach I favour is regular monitoring of children’s weight from birth to avoid drastic action like this.”

Nadine Dorries, the Tory MP for Mid- Bedfordshire and a former nurse, described the measure as “draconian”.

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