In re Brittany T.
New York Family Court
835 N.Y.S.2d 829 (2007)
Brittany T. was a 12-year-old girl primarily raised by her biological parents. When Brittany was nine years old, she was morbidly obese, weighing more than 240 pounds. Brittany went through extensive examinations and testing, all of which determined that her weight problems were caused by excessive caloric intake and a sedentary lifestyle. Brittany’s weight was causing significant health problems. Brittany also did not attend school regularly. In 2003, a court issued an order of supervision requiring Brittany’s parents to regularly take her to school, participate in a nutrition-education program with her, and take her to a gym two or three times per week. The parents did not comply with the order over the next few years, and Brittany continued to gain weight and had poor attendance until shortly before the parents were brought back before the court for violating the order of supervision. During the hearing, the parents cited several excuses for failing to comply. Both parents suffered from significant mobility and health issues. In their defense, the parents argued that Brittany did not like doing the things ordered by the court, that she snuck food, that they tried their best, and that Brittany had not been negatively impacted by their noncompliance. In opposition, Dr. William J. Cochran, a board-certified pediatric gastroenterologist and nutritionist who had treated Brittany for three years, testified extensively about the negative impact of Brittany’s obesity on her health—both the comorbidities she was experiencing at the time and those she was likely to experience in the future—as well as the social and psychological impact.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brockway, J.)
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