World

Puerto Rico Considers Fine For Obese Children

Evan Wilt Contributor

In Puerto Rico, heavy children could soon lead to heavy fines.

Since close to 30 percent of Puerto Rico’s children are obese, a new proposal would make parents pay up to an $800 fine if their kids don’t lose weight, the Associated Press reports.

The bill was proposed in an effort to improve the health and wellness of Puerto Rico’s youth by local Sen. Gilberto Rodríguez.  The bill is scheduled for a public hearing on Friday.

If passed, public school teachers would “flag potential obesity cases and refer them to a counselor or social worker,” the AP reports. Health officials would then determine the cause of the obesity and create a program to resolve it, complete with monthly visits to ensure compliance.

Children would then be evaluated after a six-month period, with parents facing potential fines if there is no sign of improvement.  The fines range from $500 to $800.

In the U.S. mainland it is reported that 18 percent of children are considered obese.

Even with the high rate of obese children “several doctors, including the Puerto Rico chapter president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, have called the initiative unfair,” Time reported.