Professor Wayne Cutfield, director of the Liggins Institute at Auckland University, told Newstalk ZB it was “incredibly disappointing that the way we manage child obesity could end up being children being removed from their families.”
The NZ Herald revealed today that a “traffic light” system was being proposed for referring children to Child Youth and Family for “medical neglect”.
Doctors are developing protocols to refer obese children to child protection services if their parents ignore medical advice to help their children lose weight.
Starship Hospital paediatrician Dr Patrick Kelly said the system was not specific to obesity but could include obesity cases.
Dr Cutfield told Newstalk that while there was no doubt obesity was a huge problem in New Zealand, “simply blaming and shaming and then potentially removing or incarcerating children is the wrong approach”.
He said some families did not recognise their children were obese, particularly with young children.