A middle-aged couple have been arrested on suspicion of neglect and child cruelty for allowing their 11-year-old son to become obese.
The boy, who at 5ft 1in weighs 15 stone, has a body mass index (BMI) of 41.8 – over 30 is considered obese.
The parents reportedly now face having their son taken into care.
But the couple, from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, told The Sun that the boy has always been overweight and said his genes were to blame.
“My son’s always been big. Everyone on my side of the family is,” his father told the newspaper.
The 49-year-old and his wife, 43, were both questioned under caution after doctors at the Queen Elizabeth hospital contacted police after treating the boy twice in March.
The pair were subsequently visited by social workers and agreed to a letter of intent over the 11-year-old’s care. If they fail to comply, legal proceedings will reportedly be started to take the child into care.
But the pair insisted they were trying to keep their son at a healthy weight and encouraged him to take regular exercise.
They said they had been threatened with legal action earlier this year and had signed up to a voluntary plan to address their son’s weight issues, with little success.
“The idea that they could take away my son scares me so much. I’m nothing without my kids,” his mother told the newspaper.
“I’m chubby and the whole of my husband’s side of the family is big. Its genetics – you can be genetically fat.”
And his father added: “He’s always been big. He was born with shovels for hands and spades for feet. Everyone on my side of the family is big. There’s nothing we can do about it. I only eat occasional kebabs. Our son’s favourite snack is steamed broccoli – and he’s still big.”
Police confirmed a man and woman were arrested on suspicion of child neglect and cruelty and freed on bail.Reuse content