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Ohio Third-Grader Weighing 200 Pounds Placed in Foster Care

Child on Scale

An eight-year-old Ohio boy who weighs more than 200 pounds was taken from his family last month and placed in foster care after social workers said his mother was not doing enough to control his weight, The Plain Dealer reported.

The third grader is considered severely obese by the standards of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, putting him at risk of developing diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

The boy was taken out of his home on Oct. 19, according to The Plain Dealer. He is currently in foster care, and his mother can see him once a week for two hours. 

The case will be heard in court next month, The Plain Dealer reported. 

Cuyahoga County officials who were monitoring the child's health said the child's weight was caused by his environment and his mother was ignoring doctor's orders on food and exercise, the newspaper reported.

"This child's problem was so severe that we had to take custody," said Mary Louise Madigan, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Family Services.

The Ohio Health Department estimates more than 12 percent of third-graders statewide are severely obese. The removal of the Cleveland child might be the first in the state for a strictly weight-related issue.

The Plain Dealer did not identify the boy or his mother, but she told the newspaper she was devastated after her son was taken last month.

"They are trying to make it seem like I am unfit, like I don't love my child."

She also said she was trying to help him lose weight. "Of course I love him. Of course I want him to lose weight. It's a lifestyle change, and they are trying to make it seem like I am not embracing that. It is very hard, but I am trying."

Lawyers for his mother—a substitute elementary school teacher—believe the county overreached its mandate by arguing the boy's health is in imminent danger. The child does not yet suffer from obesity-related diseases, the newspaper said.

Lawyers also question the emotional impact the child suffered after being yanked from his family, school and friends.

Children are ordinarily removed from their homes for physical abuse, neglect or undernourishment, The Plain Dealer said.

Click here to read more from this story from The Plain Dealer.