Should parents be held legally responsible when their kids are severely overweight?

Several states have begun holding parents responsible for dangerous levels of obesity among children. In one recent case, a mother in South Carolina whose 14-year-old son weighs 555 pounds has been arrested and charged with neglect. Should parents be held legally responsible when their kids are severely overweight?

I would say you have to be very carefull and make sure neglect is the cause and not family genetics. -Brandon Carriere, Le Sueur, MN

Obesity is a psychological disease just like anorexia. We are not punishing parents for this disease so we should not do so for obesity! -Diana, Bloomington, MN

Definitely parents should be responsible. Maybe putting the pressure on parents now will be the first step in emphasizing prevention in our health care system. -Kerry, Northfield, MN

Yes parents should be held responsible for their children’s obesity. Whether a child is overweight or underweight it poses health risks. I think it should be considered neglect when it is obvious that the parents are not making any efforts to promote general health. This would be apparent through consultations with healthcare providers and actions taken…or lack there of. -Tauna Hudson, Bovey, MN

Ultimately it is the fault of the parents; the idea that since a meal has been fixed for them they must eat it is still very much alive. A child will not starve herself just because she does not want to eat when you want her to. There is also the factor of sugar in the diet. My oldest children were never given sugared foods and to this day have no sweet tooth, no weight issues, and also have never had cavities (they are in their 30’s). The younger ones did have access to sugar and now fight with weight issues and dental ones as well. -anonymous text message

No, not until the govt cracks down on junk food marketers. -anonymous text message

Yes! As a young child parents provide the foundation of food habits. -anonymous text message

Parents are held responsible if their children are underweight and/or malnourished so I think parents should be held responsible if their children are extremely overweight. Both extreme overweight and extreme underweight are equally negligent and damaging to the child. -Lynn, Elk River, Mn

Yes parents should b held responsible they can say no. -anonymous text message