Obese child taken from parents

Alex Massey

A morbidly obese child at "significant risk of death" has been taken into State care after attempts to work with her family failed.

The Department for Child Protection and Family Support said the child's excessive weight was the result of a medical condition.

The ABC reported the three-year-old girl was from an Aboriginal community in the East Kimberley and weighed at least 30kg - more than double the average weight for a child of that age as measured by the World Health Organisation.

DCPFS acting director-general Emma White said the girl's family had not stuck to instructions for physiotherapy, meal and exercise plans.

"Doctors have advised the child is at significant risk of death and was not receiving the appropriate care," Ms White said.

It is understood the girl was flown to Perth last week and placed with a carer until a suitable relative or placement option could be identified in Broome.

DCPFS is facilitating continuing contact between the child and the family.

"Medical professionals have clearly stated that the child needs to reside close to a hospital which has the necessary breathing equipment which is required if she gets into breathing difficulties," Ms White said.

"The only hospitals with this equipment are in Perth, Broome and Kalgoorlie."

Australian Medical Association WA president Richard Choong said another overweight child was placed into State care under similar circumstances several years ago.

Dr Choong said obese children were at a higher risk of developing liver disease, diabetes and sleep apnoea.

"There are other issues about development, growth and how a child matures physically that will all be affected by weight," he said.

Dr Choong said he understood the difficulty traditional Aboriginal families had in moving to big towns from remote communities but the child's health needed to come first.

He said obesity was a community-wide issue among all age groups.

"We have a problem where we're battling a trifecta of poor diets, increased inactivity and community tolerance," he said.