Restrictive Diet Control as a Means of Child Abuse

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We have recently encountered a series of cases where an obese caretaker is juxtaposed to a severely starved, malnourished dependent. The cases described all share a common characteristic: that the primary perpetrator was an obese caretaker who tried to exert absolute control over their victim's daily life in a way that included either a severe restriction or complete denial of food. Because the pathophysiology of both child abuse and obesity are incredibly complex and multifactorial, these cases are presented to encourage further discussion and more rigorous investigation into the validity of a hypothesis that has been derived from this set of cases: that the obesity of a child's caretaker may be an additional risk factor for child maltreatment by starvation.

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