By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services is holding a town hall meeting on Wednesday to help explain the role of child welfare in relation to the childhood obesity epidemic.

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“We recently had to purchase two scales that go over 400 pounds because we’ve had children that heavy,” said DHS Commissioner Anne Marie Ambrose, explaining some of the impact obesity has on Philadelphia’s children.

Commissioner Ambrose says more than 40 percent of children in Philadelphia are obese.

“We’ve seen an increase in obesity in our case load sizes. Kids who have diabetes, kids who have sleep apnea, asthma all kinds of things that can aggravate a situation when you have obesity.”

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Ambrose says obesity can cause safety concerns, forcing DHS to intervene. But that is not their goal. Instead, she says, DHS wants to educate parents by bringing in a panel of experts.

“To talk about healthy eating choices, how kids and families can stay fit by going to different programs and rec centers across the city. We really want to help parents work with these issues. We have a medical director and six different nurses who deal with this issue on a regular basis.”

The town hall is planned for 6 p.m. Wednesday at Towey Rec Center in West Kensington located at 1832 Howard Street, from 6-8 p.m.

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