Morbid obesity is never cool, but when we see it in young children it becomes a real tragedy. In the United States, childhood obesity is an alarming health issue, or more like a growing epidemic that currently affects more than 30% of American children. But it’s not just the most developed countries that face this saddening problem – childhood obesity has become a global phenomenon affecting all socio-economic groups, regardless of age, sex or ethnicity. Some of the co-morbid conditions associated with obesity are metabolic, cardiovascular, psychological, orthopedic and hepatic disorders.
Obese children are usually deprived of many aspects of a normal childhood, face difficulties at school and suffer from a myriad of self-image issues.
Just recently, a new shocking example of morbid childhood obesity has come from the rural parts of Indonesia. Arya Permana is a 10-year-old kid who weighs whopping 192 kilograms and has been named the fattest child in the world in 2016. For this youngster, being unable to play with other kids in the street is not the greatest concern anymore – his morbid obesity has put his life in danger and the risk is growing bigger every day.
Arya used to eats five meals a day consisting of rice, fish, beef, vegetables and soy patties – the amount of food he consumed on a daily basis was enough to feed two adults. Since his baffling weight poses a serious threat to his life, his parents have put him on a very strict diet consisting only of brown rice, in the hope that it will stop his frightening growth.
The morbidly obese child has dropped out of school as he can no longer walk, frequently complains of shortness of breath and is perpetually hungry. “I don’t have enough money to buy food to fulfill his large appetite. I borrow money so that he can eat”, says his mother Rokayah. His parents can’t find clothes to fit him anymore and he is reduced to wearing just a sarong.
Surprisingly, Arya, who is the second child of his parents, was born via natural birth and weighed a normal 3.2 kgs. During the first two years of his life, he was a normal, healthy child who wasn’t different from his peers in any aspect. By the time he turned two years old, he started gaining weight at an abnormal rate for his age. His parent’s didn’t worry too much about it then and thought it’s just a phase. “He was fatter than my first son and other children in the village but we didn’t think it was a matter for concern. We were happy to see him fuller and considered him to be a happy, healthy child.”
But Arya’s appetite grew monstrous during the next few years and his meal portions became huge. His parents didn’t know what to do but they kept feeding him as they couldn’t see him starving. He could barely walk and spent most of his time either eating or sleeping, with no other physical activities than crawling to the family bathtub where he would spend hours.
His parents realized that his weight had gone out of control and finally sought medical attention. They took the boy to several doctors in their village, but the doctors didn’t see anything abnormal about the boy’s incredible weight.
His father Ade, who makes £100 a month and couldn’t afford to take him to a better hospital, explains: “They asked us to take him to better hospitals if we think he needs medical attention. I have spent money beyond my capacity on his treatment but I am a poor farmer and making ends meet is a big task for me”.
Unsure how to prevent his son from gaining even more weight and potentially losing his life, he and his wife decided to take matters in their own hands and drastically restrict his consumption of food, which they hope will help Arya lose some of his alarming weight. “I am exhausted now and I cannot afford expensive hospitals. But I hope to see my son perfectly normal one day”, adds Ade.