Health workers are battling to treat a thirteen-year-old boy who ballooned to 32 stone after gorging non-stop on rice and ice cream.
The tragic youngster Ekkarin Kaewkitja was raised by his grandparents after his mother died and his father walked out when he was just three-years-old in Nakhon Sawan, northern Thailand.
Instead of playing with other children, the lad stayed inside his grandparents’ shabby wooden home where they gave him unlimited rice and sweet treats to keep him happy. They even affectionately nicknamed him ‘Fat’ and enjoyed watching him tuck into his favourite servings of ice cream.
However, the youngsters eating became obsessive and he would eat bowls of white rice non-stop from waking up until falling asleep. They were washed down with several cartons of milk and sweet snacks.
His grandmother died earlier this month on April 13 pushing Ekkarin into a depression. The boy’s grandfather Chaleaw Jaempradaeng, 80, finally contacted a local charity for help with the boy’s condition but they were shocked when they arrived on Wednesday (April 21) and saw the lad’s enormous frame.
Ekkarin weighed in at a staggering 32 stone (203kg) and was ordered to immediately be put on a diet. They said he was so fat that he can only sleep while sitting up and can’t lie down as he struggles to get back up.
The grandfather said: ‘We raised Ekkarin since he was small so we love him dearly but he has a lot of problems and learning difficulties.
‘His body has been getting bigger during the past few years since he loves eating large piles of rice, four or five cartons of milk and sweet snacks all day.
‘If he doesn’t get enough food, he will become emotionally unstable and cry.
‘Now he has started suffering from obesity and is unable to breathe freely. We could not take him to see a psychiatrist any more due to his weight and the issues are getting more severe.’
Staff from the Pavena Foundation for Women and Children who tended to Ekkarin are now visiting him every day to ensure his spiraling weight is brought under control.
They said the boy had never received proper medical treatment because the old couple did not have enough money. The only money they get is from their two sons – Ekkarin’s uncles – who both work as labourers.
His grandparents doused him with water from a hose every day to keep him cool as he would easily get overheated due to the excess body fat in the sweltering 35C heat.
The foundation agreed to help Ekkarin and is now contact the Ministry Of Social Development And Human Security and the Ministry of Public Health to seek better treatment for the boy. They hope to move him to a hospital shortly.
Pavena Hongsakul, President of the Pavena Foundation for Children and Women, said: ‘This young boy has learning difficulties and severe health problems. His condition is causing difficulties in everyday life, so it’s important that he receives help as quickly as possible.
‘He must sleep in a sitting position and avoid lying in a straightened position This will lead to problems with breathing and movement. He cannot walk as he gets out-of-breath immediately and too tired.’
The Royal College of Physicians of Thailand conducted a study in 2014 showed that more than 20.8 million Thai people had suffered from obesity in the last seven years. At least 37.5 per cent of the group were reportedly at risk for non-communicable diseases including diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, asthma, and cancers.