Health officials support placing obese children in foster care before undergoing surgery

Herrera family
Herrera family
Beth Wilbanks, certified personal trainer
Beth Wilbanks, certified personal trainer

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - If a child is obese and qualifies for weight loss surgery, some health experts believe they should be put in temporary foster care.

They feel it's more ethical than going under the knife.

"As a mom of 4, that would be terrible to have your kids taken away," says Griselda Herrera.

Herrera and others say surgery and foster care are both extreme ways to deal with childhood obesity.

"That's wrong. Both are wrong," says Sue Ann McQueen, a mother of two boys.

Instead, McQueen feels strongly that it starts with parents.

"Parents have to take responsibility for themselves, plus the responsibility for their children," says McQueen.

East Texas parents say its up to mom and dad to make sure their kids eat right. It's up to them to take the cookies out of the kitchen and make better nutritional decisions for their entire family.

Being a healthier role model is important.

Like Herrera when she started eating better and drinking more water, her kids seemed to mimic her.

"Parents could change their lifestyle - eat a little better. I think the kids would follow," says Herrera

Certified personal trainer Beth Wilbanks is passionate about getting the entire family fit.

She agrees that parents need to take their children's health more seriously.

"If we or our children were sitting on the floor stoned on drugs or drunk with alcohol we would do something about it," says Wilbanks, "Obesity is linked to diabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and respiratory problems. It's killing us like cancer."

As far as foster care being the answer, Elizabeth Hill says that punishes the kid and weight loss surgery doesn't work.

"I've been in the medical field for years. This gastric band only works temporarily because the adults don't go by the rules," says Elizabeth Hill.

What do you think?  Should obese kids facing surgery be taken away from their parents?  Take our web poll.

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