What’s one way to prevent obesity in U.S. children? Removing custody from the parents of morbidly obese children who do not attempt to control their kids’ weight. At least, that is one what one Harvard University professor recommended in a controversial commentary published in a well known medical journal, according to multiple reports.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the opinion article suggested that putting obese children in foster care may in some cases be more ethical than weight loss surgery. Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston who penned the article, said the point is not to blame parents, but rather to act in the best interest of those children and help them regain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Such extreme measures have been taken in extreme situations. For instance, Ludwig told The Associated Press that he began to seriously consider the issue after a 90-pound 3-year-old girl was admitted to his obesity clinic several years ago. Last year, at age 12, she weighed 400 pounds and had developed a slew of medical issues such as diabetes and hypertension, leading the state to place her in foster case. While in state care she received three balanced meals a day and moderate physical activity, leading her to drop 130 pounds.

However, Ludwig said he the state would ideally only remove child custody from a parent in extreme cases, and only as a last resort.

Childhood obesity in the U.S. has tripled in the last 30 years. Almost 20 percent of children between ages 6 to 11 were obese in 2008, while 18 percent of 12 to 19 years old were also obese that year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

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