Ohio…the “Nanny State”

Full confession: I used to be a fat kid.  I was a scrawny, sickly toddler until my concerned grandparents decided to plump me up.  So, between the ages of three and five, I went from underweight to severely overweight.

According to a recent Associated Press release, an 8-year old boy from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, is being placed into foster care because his family has failed to control his weight, which the state has determined to be a form of “medical neglect.”  Weighing slightly over 200 pounds, the boy suffers from severe obesity; most boys his age are only 60 pounds.  Despite the mother’s protests that she has tried her best to help him, the state has determined that it is in the boy’s interest to be temporarily placed in a foster home.  Cuyahoga County (my home county!) is of the opinion that putting children temporarily in foster care is more ethical than obesity surgery or other drastic recourses to promote weight loss.

This scenario raises an interesting ethical question: When is the state justified in taking children out of their parents’ custody?
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