Parents in Puerto Rico will be fined up to $800 if their children are obese, if a bill currently being debated in the legislature is implemented.
Local senator Gilberto Rodríguez stated that the bill was aimed at improving children’s health and enabling parents to make better health choices, the Guardian reported.
Under the proposed bill, schoolteachers would refer potential obesity cases to a counselor, who would then work with the parents of the child to create a diet and exercise program monitored by monthly visits. Failure to show improvement within six months to a year could result in fines of between $500 and $800 for the parents.
Obesity is a significant problem in the small island territory, with over 28% of youngsters reportedly defined as obese. However, several doctors, including the Puerto Rico chapter president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, have called the initiative unfair.