Foster Care Recommended for Some Obese Kids

PHILADELPHIA (NBC) --  The American Medical Association is making a radical suggestion in the fight against childhood obesity... place obese children in foster care. That has some parents upset.

But, experts say the group is not really talking about normal cases.

The article in the Journal of the American Medical Association has a suggestion for treating obese children: it says in the extreme cases placing them temporarily in foster care may be more ethical than obesity surgery. The commentary has sparked criticism.

"Totally wrong. " says one parent."Obesity does not just come from overeating. There are genetics involved with that as well."

"I think that's a bit extreme," says another parent.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Donald Schwarz says, "We're talking about children who have not only the health issues, but who have parents whose behavior is seen as neglectful."

Dr. Donald Schwarz says extreme cases can be defined in three ways: a child who is overly obese, has medical complications and whose parents have been deemed intentionally neglectful.

He says only then the issue of foster care may be raised. Schwarz adds, in Philadelphia, the Department of Human Services- for example- would only remove a child in danger.

"In a case where we believe a parent is being neglectful, we would always consider whether or not that parent is an appropriate caregiver for a child "

Pediatrician Dr. Denise Baker says obesity is a growing problem among her patients.

"I'm seeing it every day more and more however what is the real issue here. The issue is education."

Dr.Baker wonders if parents are truly neglecting their children or simply uneducated.

"We have to really go back to basics, eating meals at the table...having healthy snacks around- go back to basics and prevention."