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Family Court to Decide if Dad is Too Fat to Have Custody of His Kids

Obesity

Is there a correlation between waist size and effective parenting?

Does the size of a person’s waistline directly affect his ability to parent effectively?

A judge in Canada might just think so, because a 38-year-old dad of two is awaiting a family court ruling that will say if he can see his kids again. Affecting the matter in part is his weight, which is 360 pounds, according to the New York Daily News (via CTV).

The man’s kids have been in foster care since last year, at which time they were removed from his ex-wife’s custody following a mental breakdown.

Apparently a doctor in the man’s case (the man spoke to CTV anonymously because Canada’s Child and Family Services Act prohibits anyone in a case involving minors from being identified) testified that his weight “may interfere with his life too much to make him a competent” parent.

“(The father) has struggled with obesity for years, which impacts significantly on most aspects of his life including (his) functioning as a parent,” the doctor wrote, according to CTV.

Things like shortness of breath or getting winded just from walking short distances were cited as examples, with the concern being that he “lacks both the mobility and stamina required to keep up with young and active children.”

In his defense, the dad says he’s in a better place than ever before. When the custody battle began, he was over 500 pounds, and has since lost roughly 150 pounds.

He admitted to CTV that he’s a stress eater, and that having the kids in his life would cause stress, but not have them would cause even more stress.

Other factors contributing to the court’s decision include a “few” run-ins with the law and a history of marijuana use.

If the court rules that this dad is unfit to parents because of his weight, will all overweight parents be similarly scrutinized for the number on their scales? It’s not as if this is like the mom that Strollerderby’s Carolyn Castiglia once wrote about — the one who consumes 12,000 calories a day and clearly has some kind of an emotional disorder in addition to being severely physically limited.

Are kids really better off in foster care because their dad eats when he’s stressed? Wouldn’t it be better to enroll him in court-mandated counseling sessions and have a social services worker check in on the family regularly to ensure his kids aren’t suffering as a result of his physical limitations? Or does his size really mean he can’t be a loving and effective dad? And would the same hold true for a parent who is underweight, and also perhaps lacks the energy to keep up with young kids because of too few calories consumed?

Should obese parents be prevented from caring for their children?

Photo credit: iStock

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