Obese Canadian dad losing custody of kids over weight
New York, June 22 (ANI): An Ottawa man who weighs in at 360 pounds, says his obesity is the reason he was not given custody of his two kids.
The 38-year-old could not be identified under Canada's Child and Family Services Act because the case involves minors, but spoke on condition of anonymity.
"I'm waiting on [a\] decision to be handed down by family court if I'll ever see my children again," the New York Daily quoted the father as telling CTV News.
"One of the reasons they used is because I was too fat, and couldn't keep up with my children," he said.
His children have been living in foster care ever since they were removed from his former wife's custody last year when she reportedly had a mental breakdown and was treated for a suspected overdose.
The custody decision of his children is now in the hands of his local family court. A doctor involved in the case recently filed a report that said that his weight may interfere with his life too much to make him a competent parent.
"(The father) has struggled with obesity for years, which impacts significantly on most aspects of his life including (his) functioning as a parent," the doctor wrote.
"He was short of breath or winded in simply walking short distances about the clinic and he lacks both the mobility and stamina required to keep up with young and active children," the doctor added.
That doctor's opinion was quickly criticised by Ottawa Sun columnist Anthony Furey, who flagged the incident as a dangerous trend.
"According to a 2011 report, a quarter of Canadians are obese," Furey wrote.
"Should we be investigating those families to see if their obesity is restricting their child-rearing abilities, then take their children away? Absolutely not," he wrote.
But the father argued that he has actually taken great steps towards better health, pointing to an approximately 150 pound weight loss since the custody battle began.
Once weighing above 525 pounds, he is down to roughly 360 pounds.
Nevertheless, the fight to get his children back could have a harmful impact itself.
"I am a stress eater," the father said.
"Having them in my life would cause stress, but not having them in my life would cause even more stress," he said.
The hospital declined to comment on the case but said in a statement that "every case is unique."
"Mental and physical issues are examined as well as any special needs of the children," the hospital said.
The father had admitted that his own record isn't spotless and he has had a few run-ins of his own with the law but he has cleaned up his act by taking anger management courses and no longer smokes marijuana.
"Nothing can be compared to my kids. If I lose my kids for good, it's over for me," he added. (ANI)
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