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October 26, 2011

Life-Threatening Childhood Obesity and Legal Intervention—Reply

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Ludwig) (david.ludwig@childrens.harvard.edu); and Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston (Ms Murtagh).

JAMA. 2011;306(16):1762-1764. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1523

In Reply: Ms Erskine observes that “[t]he critical determination for any court is whether . . . parental conduct, or lack of parenting, is creating an untenable risk to the child,” placing emphasis on the child's welfare, not parental blame. She further states that judicial oversight with high standards of proof are required when states seek to remove a child from parental custody; we agree. Our aim was not to propose new law but rather to consider how existing legal framework may apply to cases of life-threatening childhood obesity.