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Thoughts For Thursday: 3 Year Old is 132 Pounds – Indulgence Or Medical Problem?

March 24, 2011 · 72 comments

in Thoughts For Thursday

How much do you think a three year old child should weigh?  Forty pounds maybe?  I can’t remember how much my kids weighed when they were three, but I do know what they didn’t weigh…

There is an article in the UK Dailymail about a three year old boy in China, Lu Hao, that weighs 132 pounds.  I was in shock, as that is just a few pounds lighter than my sixteen year old.

When I first started reading the article and looking at the photos, I was angry at the parents because someone is obviously feeding this child.  The parents are quoted as saying he eats 3 bowls of rice at meal time, and that his appetite is greater than theirs.  I instantly thought “then just give him one bowl of rice, no matter how much he cries”.  I quickly judged this situation as one of over indulgence, as you can clearly see this child is very dangerously obese.

However, as I read further into the article, I found out that the parents have taken their son to three different hospitals, and they cannot get any clear answers.  Apparently, his hormone levels are normal, which was the first thing I wondered about when reading the story.   One hospital told the family the child had a brain tumor, but two other hospitals said he did not.  I cannot imagine not being able to obtain concrete evidence about something as serious as a brain tumor.  I then read through the comments on the article, and several readers stated that this child very likely suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome, which is a genetic chromosomal defect that makes a person feel like they are never full.  Has Lu Hao even been tested for such an issue, or seen a geneticist?  Given that doctors can’t even agree on if he has a brain tumor or not, I have concerns over the quality of health care available to this family. (Not to mention that China has more than its share of health care issues as I understand it.)  Ideally, a physician or specialist out there will read about Lu Hao and be able to reach out to the family and find out what is actually going on with this child.   I hope it is just a case of parental indulgence because other causes of such obesity can be life threatening.   However, if spoiling a child by letting him/her eat whatever they wanted led to 132 pound toddlers routinely, then there would be a lot of really huge kids here in America.  I see little kids eating garbage all the time, but I have never seen a child like the boy in this news story.

In retrospect, my initial rush to judgment when reading this article just proves the old adage that you may not always be able to judge a book by it’s cover.  Sometimes situations really are as simple as they appear, and other times, the truth is much more complex.  In this case, I have no idea what the truth is, but I sure hope someone is able to figure it out and help this child before it is too late.  In addition, even though I have been frustrated with our insurance company, I am grateful for the medical care accessible to us compared to so many other people.   I could be wrong, but I believe that if this family were in the United States, the mystery of Lu Hao’s weight gain would be solved.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

First Gen American March 24, 2011 at 6:35 am

My kids were both very big as infants and naturally thinned down as toddlers. Some days they seem to eat adult portions as they are growing, so I think it would really require a lot of food to get him this size. I have the opposite problem sometimes, when it’s hard for me to get my kids to eat when I want them to. There has got to be a medical problem with him. I’m glad you weren’t too harsh. I’m not sure what I’d to in that situation.


Kris March 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm

First Gen – I thought the same thing; I would have to feed my kids all day long every day to get them to that size. Even still, I don’t think it would be possible. Then again, you look at those half-ton shows and the metabolism just must slow down to a crawl when you become so sedentary.

I really hope this boy ends up being alright.


101 Centavos March 24, 2011 at 7:31 am

That is one big lad! The father in the picture holding the boy up looks like he’s about to pop a vein, or maybe that’s me imagining it in empathetic pain. My 95-lb eleven year-old still likes to jump up on me to be carried, and my lower back cringes even now as I write about it.


Kris March 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm

101 – I couldn’t believe that the father was able to pick that child up! My back was aching at the sight of it too. Such a sad situation, regardless of the cause.


Niki March 24, 2011 at 7:45 am

This is so sad. Like you said you almost hope it is over indulgence rather than a serious medical problem. It is hard not to judge when you see a child that size. My cousin has a son that is very large and it is from eating crap and garbage all day long with no exercise. It makes me just want to slap them. He will never learn good eating habits and grow up with every disadvantage against him when trying to lose weight. I think how could you do that to your child, weight issues should not be a child’s problem.


Kris March 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Niki, you are so right, weight issues should not ever be a child’s problem. It is up to the parents to ensure a healthy diet for the kiddos. It doesn’t even sound like this kid is eating garbage, but is eating huge meals.

Can I slap your cousin too?


Nicole March 24, 2011 at 8:21 am

Poor kid.

And yeah, a good lesson that we shouldn’t judge folks unless we have all the facts. And sometimes not even then. Not that that will stop us.


Kris March 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm

Nicole, you are right, it is hard to just ‘turn off’ your impressions and such. But it is definitely best to have an open mind, if possible.


Squirrelers March 24, 2011 at 9:34 am

That’s sad. Poor child. I hope that there’s attention brought to this that will expedite the medical community helping this child and his parents. Of course it would be better if it was a matter of overindulgent parents.


Kris March 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I usually hate articles like this, but hopefully something good will come of it if the right person reads about this child and is able to help him and the family.


krantcents March 24, 2011 at 12:02 pm

There probably is a medical reason for this, but no one has diagnosed the problem. Perhaps in the meantime, altering the diet may help. Is the child active?


Kris March 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm

The little boy doesn’t like to walk, but he does enjoy swimming. So the parents take him down to a local river to get some exercise. (Gosh I hope the water is clean.) From the sounds of it, he just makes life hell if he doesn’t get fed enough and when he wants. Hard to know if his body is truly demanding the food or it is just his personality. As I said, I hope he is just spoiled and this can be reversed.


retirebyforty March 24, 2011 at 12:48 pm

OMG!!! That kid weight as much as I do…
It doesn’t look good for the family at all from the comments. If he does have the PW syndrome, how long will he live? It’s so sad.


Crystal @ BFS March 24, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I just wanted to say I am now officially jealous of retirebyforty for only weighing 132 pounds…


Kris March 24, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Especially since he just had a baby. 🙂


retirebyforty March 25, 2011 at 1:14 pm

😀 haha, I didn’t gain any weight during the pregnancy.


Kris March 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm

RB40- I think I read that people with PW rarely live past 12. I just hope someone can properly diagnose the poor child.


Crystal @ BFS March 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Poor kid. Poor family. Like you, I have no idea if it’s medical or what, but the whole situation is just sad.


Kris March 24, 2011 at 1:24 pm

That poor little boy, you can’t even see his eyes at all. I wonder how many people are out there like him? Hopefully not many.


Jeff March 24, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Poor kid. Maybe he’s the reason China is short on its grain supply this month. All jokes aside, I hope the child gets better.


Money Reasons March 25, 2011 at 12:28 am

Wow, that’s more than my 10 year old weights!

I think the family is clever getting the problem out in the international public view. Hopefully some rich charity will notice and try to help…


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