Obese Boy To Stay With His Mother

An eight-year-old boy who faced being taken into care after his weight reached 14 stone (89kg) learnt last night that he will be allowed to remain with his mother. Connor McCreaddie, who is almost three times the healthy weight for a child of his age, was told that he would have to observe a strict diet.

His mother, Nicola McKeown, welcomed the decision, which was reached at a child protection conference, more usually held for victims of physical or sexual abuse, in Wallsend. Ms McKeown, 35, a single mother of two, said: “It’s in everyone’s best interests that Connor stays at home with me. I’m glad everyone is now taking an interest in him.”

Before Christmas, Connor reached his heaviest weight of 15 stone 8lb, but he has lost 22lb after beginning an exercise programme and cutting down on junk food.

He was with his mother at yesterday’s meeting, held under section 47 of the Children Act, which places a duty on the local authority to conduct an inquiry if it has “reasonable cause” to suspect that a child is suffering significant harm. Also present were two obesity nurses, a consultant paediatrician, the deputy head teacher of Connor’s school, a police officer and two social workers. North Tyneside Council said it had been “a useful discussion”.

Connor, who was the subject of a television documentary this week, has had a weight problem almost since birth. He was wearing clothes designed for children aged 5 by the age of 18 months.

At 5ft, he is tall for his age but his mother has admitted that the prime cause of his obesity has been a diet which included snacks every 20 minutes.

Ms McKeown has complained that until recently the family was not receiving adequate support from health agencies. “I’ve only had reports from the school nurse now and then,” she said.

Connor, who has been bullied at school, became so unfit that he was unable to walk for more than five minutes without wheezing or vomiting.

He has already broken four beds and five bicycles and until recently was forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor.