Parents of British Obese Boy Arrested on Child Cruelty Charges

The parents of an 11-year-old British boy have been arrested on charges of neglect and child cruelty, prompted by concerns about the boy’s severe obesity.  More from The New York Times:

The boy, who like his parents was not identified, weighed 210 pounds. Doctors and social workers concerned about his welfare had called the police after he was brought in twice for treatment, The Sun newspaper reported on Friday.

The parents were arrested in March after being questioned by the police in King’s Lynn, in Norfolk. The father, 49, and the mother, 44, were released on bail, a police spokeswoman said.

The family was reunited, and this week, in a letter of intent, the couple agreed to improve their son’s health.

The boy is 5 feet 1 inch with a body mass index of 41.8, the newspaper reported. That is higher than what is classified as obese for an average adult male and is “very overweight” for a boy his age, according to Britain’s National Health Service.

“He’s always been big,” the father told The Sun. “He was born with shovels for hands and spades for feet. Our son’s favorite snack is steamed broccoli — and he’s still big.”

In a statement, the police said that “obesity and neglect of children” were sensitive issues, but that its child abuse investigation unit worked with health care and social service agencies to ensure a “proportionate and necessary” response.

The police said in the statement that “intervention at this level is very rare and will only occur where other attempts to protect the child have been unsuccessful.”

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