TRYON, N.C. – A North Carolina mom has two months to get her 250-pound son's weight down before Polk County social workers decide whether to remove him from her home.
Justin Painter is only 7 years old but already weighs more than many adults.
Joyce Painter said she's taken her son to different doctors over the past four years, but no one has been able to pinpoint the cause of his obesity. She also says she keeps her son active. Painter said she began noticing her son putting on a lot of weight when he was 3 years old.
Most doctors told her to watch his diet. Painter said she's done her best to make sure Justin is not eating more than he should. She told WSPA-TV in South Carolina that she gives Justin one plate of food at meals, complete with vegetables, and doesn't give him chips or cookies.
"I do the best I can to cook him healthy meals and everything," Painter told WSPA-TV. "If I'm doing something wrong, show me, show me what I'm doing … if there's something in there I shouldn't have, show me so I can throw it out:"
The Division of Social Services has threatened to remove Justin from their home if he doesn't lose weight. Painter told WSPA-TV that she was shocked to read the report. The agency has given her two months to show her son is making progress in his weight loss.
Social services officials said they consider such action in cases of abuse or neglect, but an official from the Division of Social Services declined to comment on this case specifically, citing confidentiality rules.
Justin will soon start two weight management programs.
Beginning next week, the 7-year-old will attend a program at Duke University designed to bring his weight down, WSPA-TV reported. A representative from the state's Division of Social Services will accompany him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.