British Man Deemed Too Fat to Adopt

LONDON ~ A British man has been told he and his wife cannot adopt children because he is so fat that the authorities fear he will die, he said this week.

Damien Hall, who stands six feet, one inch tall, weighs 24 and a half stone (155 kilograms). He therefore has a body mass index (BMI) of more than 42 and is thus considered morbidly obese.

The call-centre worker, 37, and his nanny wife Charlotte, 31, cannot have children of their own and approached Leeds City Council in northern England, about adopting.

But their local authority told them that Damien must get his BMI down below 40 before they can be considered as potential parents due to concerns over his weight.

“The bottom line is I’m too fat,” he told BBC radio. “It’s hard to lose weight under pressure. I’m not a couch potato and I don’t sit eating takeaways every night.

“I just feel as though we were only judged on my weight and not all the other good things about us.

“We don’t drink or smoke and we could give a child a happy and safe home.”

The letter the couple received from Leeds City Council said they were unable to process their adoption application “due to the concerns that the medical advisers have expressed regarding Mr Hall’s weight.

“The Adoption Panel are unlikely to approve applicants with a BMI over 40 because of the long term health risks.

“It would therefore be to your advantage to begin the assessment with an up to date medical where your BMI is clearly recorded as being under 40 and to demonstrate that you are able to maintain this weight loss over the period of the assessment.”

Charlotte Hall said the letter was “gutting” and “to be turned down flatly just on that, it’s just harsh.

“We’re here ready to take a child on.

“They seem to be saying it’s better for them to be in care and being shoved from pillar to post just in case Damien dies.”

In a statement, Leeds City Council explained: “The council’s adoption service has a legal responsibility to ensure that children are placed with adopters who are able to provide the best possible lifelong care.

“Part of this responsibility is advice for applicants on a range of suitability criteria, including any health and lifestyle issues which may impact on an applicant’s long term ability to adopt.”

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