Britain’s obesity epidemic, which sees NHS hospitals dealing with 1,000 cases every day, is a reversal of the traditional problem when children were undernourished. Increasingly social workers find youngsters being fed a high-fat, sugary diet, which can be just as bad for their health.
The phenomenon is known as “killing with kindness” because the child craves the unhealthy food and a loving parent feels unable to say no.
Professionals say they have to make complex decisions in care proceedings and a family’s gross over-eating can be one of the factors that leads to them losing their children.
A Sunday Express survey of councils found that in the past year five children were taken from their families for that reason: two in Wake-field, West Yorkshire, one in Oxfordshire, one in Salford and one in Hounslow, London.
The previous 12 months saw five similar cases in Sheffield, Portsmouth, Lincolnshire, Slough and Harrow, London.
A social worker said: “Only in extreme cases would we take a child into care just because of their weight as we would seek to work with the family to improve their eating habits.”
Ex-Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson warned in 2006 that health chiefs would look at removing children from their families if they became super-sized, risking their health.