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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

Database of Past CMRL Messages

Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages. The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - March 6, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 8912
Date: 2011-07-18

Author:Sandra J Bishop-Josef

Subject:Re: David Ludwig's recommendation to use foster care to treat obese children

I would urge people to read the original editorial in JAMA (July 13, 2011--Vol 306, No. 2. 206-207), not the news articles reporting on the editorial. Murtagh & Ludwig are talking about life-threatening cases of extreme obesity, where other interventions have been tried and failed, and the only option remaining under consideration is bariatric surgery: "In some instances, support services may be insufficient to prevent severe harm, leaving foster care or bariatric surgery as the only alternatives" (p. 207). They ask if it is ethical to subject these children to a medically risky, irreversible surgical procedure without first considering foster care as a (temporary) alternative. If we are opposed to foster care in these instances, I think our arguments need to be more compelling than the fact that obesity is determined by factors other than parental behavior (such as government policies, social infrastructure, etc). Murtagh & Ludwig acknowledge these factors. Further, couldn't the same argument be made about several forms of maltreatment where children are routinely removed from their homes? (e.g., the role of poverty, lack of access to mental health care, etc in neglect.) It is all too easy to oppose the straw-man position of unbridled state intervention in the families of obese children. But that is not what Murtagh and Ludwig are proposing. Sandra J. Bishop-Josef, Ph.D. Assistant Director, Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy Associate Research Scientist, Child Study Center, School of Medicine Yale University 310 Prospect Street New Haven, CT 06511 Phone: 203-432-9935 FAX: 203-432-7147 E-mail: sandra.bishop@yale.edu www.ziglercenter.yale.edu Please be aware that email communication can be intercepted in transmission or misdirected. Please consider communicating any sensitive information by telephone, fax or mail. The information contained in this message may be privileged and confidential. If you are NOT the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately with a copy to hipaa.security@yale.edu and destroy this message.

I would urge people to read the original editorial in JAMA (July 13, 2011--Vol 306, No. 2. 206-207), not the news articles reporting on the editorial. Murtagh & Ludwig are talking about life-threatening cases of extreme obesity, where other interventions have been tried and failed, and the only option remaining under consideration is bariatric surgery: "In some instances, support services may be insufficient to prevent severe harm, leaving foster care or bariatric surgery as the only alternatives" (p. 207). They ask if it is ethical to subject these children to a medically risky, irreversible surgical procedure without first considering foster care as a (temporary) alternative. If we are opposed to foster care in these instances, I think our arguments need to be more compelling than the fact that obesity is determined by factors other than parental behavior (such as government policies, social infrastructure, etc). Murtagh & Ludwig acknowledge these factors. Further, couldn't the same argument be made about several forms of maltreatment where children are routinely removed from their homes? (e.g., the role of poverty, lack of access to mental health care, etc in neglect.) It is all too easy to oppose the straw-man position of unbridled state intervention in the families of obese children. But that is not what Murtagh and Ludwig are proposing. Sandra J. Bishop-Josef, Ph.D. Assistant Director, Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy Associate Research Scientist, Child Study Center, School of Medicine Yale University 310 Prospect Street New Haven, CT 06511 Phone: 203-432-9935 FAX: 203-432-7147 E-mail: sandra.bishopyale.edu www.ziglercenter.yale.edu Please be aware that email communication can be intercepted in transmission or misdirected. Please consider communicating any sensitive information by telephone, fax or mail. The information contained in this message may be privileged and confidential. If you are NOT the intended recipient, please notify the sender immediately with a copy to hipaa.securityyale.edu and destroy this message.