No dialogue about ethical interventions in the treatment of childhood obesity would be complete without including the role of family, particularly parents, in influencing their child’s diet and physical activity. However, health experts have been hesitant to address this issue.
Ethical concerns for family-based interventions include parents’ rights and responsibilities to protect their children, perceptions of obesity as child abuse or neglect, and the parents’ role as decision-makers on their child’s behalf because of the child’s limited capacity to comprehend the risks and benefits of treatment.
Family-based interventions are programs that target parents and children in creating a healthy lifestyle, which is difficult as families are confronted with an obesogenic food environment and have sedentary behaviors. Interventions that focus on improving overall family health are an ethical and effective way to decrease childhood obesity.
This article highlights ideas generated and conclusions reached at the Symposium on Ethical Issues in Interventions for Childhood Obesity, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Data for Solutions, Inc.
- 1. Protecting Children from Harmful Food Marketing
- 2. Childhood Obesity
- 3. Children with Special Health Care Needs
- 4. Public Policy Versus Individual Rights in Childhood Obesity Interventions
- 5. A Question of Competing Rights, Priorities, and Principles
- 6. The Ethical Basis for Promoting Nutritional Health in Public Schools in the United States
- 7. Ethical Family Interventions for Childhood Obesity
- 8. Public Policy Versus Individual Rights and Responsibility
- 9. State Requirements and Recommendations for School-Based Screenings for Body Mass Index or Body Composition, 2010