Two Very Obese Little Boys

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For a time, a Chinese youngster named Lu Hao was one of the most photographed children in the world, because he was billed as the fattest boy in the world. In March of 2011, he was 3 years old and weighed 132 pounds, the equivalent of 5 normal-weight children his age. Because of the danger he might pose to the others, Lu Hao couldn’t be enrolled in nursery school, so his parents were stuck with him full-time. Weirdly, his birth weight was skimpy – a mere 5.7 pounds. At around three months, he inexplicably began to expand, and nobody knew why. Isabel Jensen reported,

He is getting so big his family are frightened of him — and have given up trying to stop the youngster from gorging on huge plates of ribs and rice. His parents claim he throws vicious tantrums if he doesn’t get third or fourth helpings of dinner.

Another news piece, also published in March of 2011, said Lu Hao was four, and had started kindergarten. Chris Parsons wrote that Lu Hao hated walking to school, and was often given a ride on his mother’s motorbike. He still cried if not given all the food he wanted. His parents made a heartfelt effort to get him swimming, playing basketball and so on – but the exercise made him hungry and he demanded more food than ever. They took him to three different hospitals.

Experts examined Lu Hao, but his hormones tested out as normal. One institution suspected a brain tumor, but the other two ruled it out. Guangdong Children’s Hospital suggested that hormone treatment might be an option, but there is no mention of anyone thinking bariatric surgery, and for good reason. The risks would be horrific.

The real mystery is how the child managed to see at all. In every photo, his eyes are squeezed tightly closed by the fat of his cheeks and eyelids. Sadly, Lu Hao does not seem to have appeared in the news during the subsequent five years.

A first

News of it apparently didn’t come out for quite some time, but in 2010 irreversible bariatric surgery was performed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on a two-year-old boy, who at the time was the youngest person ever to undergo a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG). The child weighed 73 pounds, and traditional weight-loss methods had been tried to no avail. He suffered from sleep apnea, and his legs were noticeably bowed.

The case attracted unfavorable attention from obesity experts, one of whom described the surgical decision as shocking, and who raised concerns about future vitamin deficiencies that could arise from only having a tiny bit of stomach. Another confirmed that LSG should be considered only as a last resort. Of course it also gave the “Fat Can be Fit” people a chance to weigh in and express disapproval.

At any rate, two years after his surgery, the Saudi boy was reported to weigh around 50 pounds.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Tragic toddler weight nine stone,”, 03/23/11
Source: “’We just don’t know why our son is so big’:,”, 03/31/11
Source: “Saudi Boy Is Youngest Patient To Ever Undergo Weight Loss Surgery Procedure,”, 09/20/13
Source: “Two-year-old becomes youngest person ever to have weight loss surgery,”, 09/22/13
Image by wsilver


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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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