Aussie couples wanting to adopt children are reportedly facing an expected barrier in the process in being told that they’re too fat to adopt.
Stories of discrimination against potential adoptive parents comes after news that Australian adoption rates are at an all-time low. A report, released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), showed that in the last financial year there have only been 292 adoptions in Australia, down eight per cent from the previous year.
News Corp reported that cases of weight-based discrimination included a young woman whose application was was rejected after she was told her BMI was too high. This is despite the fact she had competed in three triathlons in the previous year, and was regularly attending the gym. She ended up going to the extreme of getting a gastric sleeve, a form of bariatric surgery which permanently removes part of her stomach in order to meet the requirements to achieve her dream of becoming a parent.
Another case reported that a man who had actually lost weight, but built up muscle – therefore increasing his BMI – was rejected.
The accuracy of BMI as a reliable indicator of health has long been disputed. It is a measurement based on height vs. weight, and can be effected by factors including muscle mass. Those in the health profession generally don’t consider it a reliable indicator of health, and prefer to use an individuals waist measurement.
Weight wasn’t the only factor that caused prospective parents to miss out on adoption, with age, and length of marriage causing couples to be turned down too.
The result of this is that children are potentially missing out on a stable home, and rather being shuffled from foster family to foster family.