The problem of obesity in children has been well-publicised in recent times, with new research throwing out more and more concerning findings, and one country appears to be taking the heavy-handed method in an attempt to stamp out the issue.
According to reports, legislators in Puerto Rico are debating a bill that would fine the parents of obese children up to $800 if they don’t lose weight.
With public hearings for the bill set to take place tomorrow, Senator Gilberto Rodriguez spoke encouragingly about the proposed legislation, saying its aim is to improve children’s wellbeing and help parents make healthier choices.
If the bill goes through, the system will place a responsibility on public school teachers to flag potential obesity cases with a social worker or a counsellor. Health Department officials will then meet with the parents to determine the cause of obesity – bad food choices or a medical condition – and they will prescribe a programme for the child to follow.
After six months, the child will be evaluated once again, with parents facing fines of anything between $500 and $800 if positive progress has not been made within another six months to a year.
With over a quarter (28%) of children in Puerto Rico now considered obese, it is clear that an intervention is required, but we’re not sure if fines are the best way forward.
What are your thoughts?