In the past 30 years, childhood obesity in America has more than tripled. Today nearly 2 million children in the U.S are extremely overweight.
Dr. David Ludwig, a highly respected obesity expert at Harvard University, has proposed a controversial theory on how to fight the growing epidemic.
He proposes that in an effort to save the lives of some of these children, they should be removed from their parents' care.
"Taking a child away from their parents is a drastic action," he conceded. "It should only be used as a last resort."
"But when we have a 400-pound child with life threatening complications, there may not be any great choices," he said.
The idea is a controversial one among Ludwig's peers, with many saying that the move is too drastic.
"I'd say, 'Can't you get someone in my house and make this a safe place for me? Can't you help my parents?" Dr. Arthur Caplan, with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, said.
The parents of Anamarie Regino discovered the hard way that such a move can do more harm to a child than good.
More than a decade ago, the then 3-year-old was taken from her home and placed in foster care.
After two months, Anamarie's weight hadn't changed and she was returned to her parents.
The little girl was later diagnosed with a genetic predisposition.
"This did more damage to my daughter," her mother said. "If they really did care about that child, they would take more effort to stay with the family."
Ludwig said that children should only be taken away from their homes in extreme cases. But even then, he said state officials should offer the children's parents counseling and education first.