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Childhood obesity "down to neglect"

A new study shows that obesity has played a part in at least 20 child protection cases across the UK in the last year.

Paediatricians contacted by the BBC said at least 20 care orders have been given for children where obesity has been a factor.

The figure was revealed when the broadcaster asked 50 consultant paediatricians if they believe childhood obesity can ever be a child protection issue.

One doctor spoke of a 10-year-old girl who could walk only a few yards with a stick.

He believed her parents were "killing her slowly" with a diet of chips and high-fat food.

Some doctors now believe extreme cases of overfeeding a young child should be seen as a form of abuse or neglect, according to the report.

A group of doctors in Rotherham is calling for obesity in under 12s to be designated an act of neglect and for action to be taken against their parents, the BBC said.

They are set to call for the move at the British Medical Association's annual meeting later this month.

Rotherham GP Dr Matt Capehorn put forward the motion as a result of his own experience of running an obesity clinic.

He said: "My colleagues and I were concerned because we noticed a discrepancy in the way society, the medical profession and the courts treat an obese child compared with a malnourished child.

"There is outrage if a child is skin and bone but it only happens in extreme cases with obese children."

British Medical Association

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"Professionals need to look beyond the child's weight and see the whole family picture before going down the route of abuse. For example poverty, parents level of education,parental mental health and so on!" - Name and address supplied

"I think the comment tars all obese children with the same brush and will outrage and upset parents who are genuinely not over-feeding their child" - Name and address supplied