Experts 'Appalled' by Puerto Rican Bill to Fine Parents of Obese Children

Experts "appalled" by legislature's move to fine parents up to $800.

— -- Obesity researchers say a Puerto Rican bill that would fine parents of obese children up to $800 is "unbelievable" and "unfair."

Rodriguez's bill assumes that people who are obese can chose not to be, but it's not that simple, Dhurandhar said.

Dhurandhar's own research has shown obesity can be caused by a multitude of factors, including the environment in a mother's womb, too much or too little sleep and chemicals in the environment. There's more to losing weight than eating less and moving more, he said.

Policies that support parents are much more helpful than policies that penalize them, she said. Improving access to opportunities for physical activity and providing incentives toward buying healthier food, for example, have already proven effective in cities like Philadelphia, Puhl said.

The fines this senator has proposed "drastically oversimplify obesity and are more likely to be harmful than incur any benefit," she said.