Fighting child obesity has taken a serious turn with the involvement of social services in the case of Connor McCreaddie, a boy of eight years, who is grossly overweight, above three times the average for his age.
The boy is likely to be taken into care, if his diet does not undergo a sea change. He holds a record of breaking four beds and five bicycles due to his weight.
Connor's mother and grandmother are expected to attend a child protection meeting to decide the course of action and whether it would be beneficial to take the boy into care. This would mean that Connor may find a place in the child protection register, or in the need register.
The boy's mother, Nicola McKeown, said: "If Connor gets taken into care that is the worst scenario there could be. Hopefully, we will be able to work through it and come up with a good plan and he will just be put on the at-risk register or some other register. That wouldn't be so bad because, hopefully, there will be some help for us at the end of it."
The panel sitting to take a decision on Connor's future will consist of two specialist obesity nurses, a consultant pediatrician, the deputy head of Connor's school, a police officer and two or more social workers.
All this action is the result of near apathy on the part of the boy's family to keep up the scheduled appointments with community and pediatric nutritionists, public health experts, school nurses and social workers to redress his faulty diet, with a view to knocking off the extra weight. The family has made a habit of playing truant with the appointments.
To quote an NHS source, "Taking the child into care or putting him on the child protection register is absolutely the last resort. We do not do these things lightly but we have got to consider what effect this life-style is having on his health. Child abuse is not just about hitting your children or sexually abusing them, it is also about neglect. The long-term health effects of obesity such as diabetes are well known and it is concerning that Connor is more than twice the weight he should be. There has to be some parental responsibility."