- The Washington Times
Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lawmakers in Puerto Rico are considering a law that would allow the government to fine the parents of obese children up to $800 if they don’t lose weight.

Sen. Gilberto Rodrigues said the whole aim of his bill is to press parents to make better food and health choices for their children, and to help lower the 28 percent childhood obesity rate in Puerto Rico, The Associated Press reported.

The measure, if passed, would require teachers to identify those children who seem on the path to obesity, and refer them to counselors. The Health Department could then be called to meet with parents, and help the families determine if the overweight symptoms are due to poor eating habits or to medical conditions, and to devise menus accordingly, AP reported.

Officials would then follow up with the referred children in six months, and parents could face fines if their child doesn’t lose weight within the following six months, AP reported.

The proposed fines range from $500 to $800.

The Puerto Rico chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics has criticized the proposal, calling it unfair.

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