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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 18:16 GMT
Obese boy to remain with mother
Connor McCreaddie - ITV1/PA Wire
Connor McCreaddie weighs more than 14 stone
Overweight boy Connor McCreaddie has been allowed by North Tyneside social services to remain with his mother.

Health experts met to decide the future of the eight-year-old, who weighs more than 14 stone (89kg).

Connor, from Wallsend, North Tyneside, who lost some weight but still prefers processed food to fruit and vegetables, could have been taken into care.

His mother, Nicola McKeown, had been called to a child protection conference with the local authority.

'Formal agreement'

A statement issued on behalf of the council's Local Safeguarding Children Board said it had a "useful discussion" with all agencies and the family concerned.

It continued: "The Local Safeguarding Children Board was able to confirm that its hope and ambition is to enable this child to remain with his family.

"In order to move this matter forward we have made a formal agreement with the family to safeguard and promote the child's welfare."

The hearing was held under Section 47 of the Children Act.

Minister concerned

Connor has slimmed down from 15st 8lbs since Christmas thanks to an exercise programme and eating healthier foods.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt has expressed concern about the case, and backed the involvement of local services.

Ms McKeown, 35, earlier told the BBC: "He refuses to eat fruit, vegetables and salads - he has processed foods. When Connor won't eat anything else, I've got to give him the foods he likes.

"I can't starve him. But I'm confident I can get his weight down with a bit of help."

Peer pressure

Brian Dow from the School Food Trust said: "Of course there's an element of parental responsibility here, but it's hard for a child to go out of the school gates now without being bombarded by messages about the wrong kinds of food.

"We also have an awful lot of peer pressure as well. I think what you see there is a child who's probably addicted to the kinds of food that are making him obese."

The boy's story was featured on ITV's Tonight With Trevor McDonald, which followed Connor and his mother for a month.


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