A sixteen-month-old baby in Indonesia is weighing 27kg, the same weight as an eight-year-old. This article looks at childhood obesity in Southeast Asia.
A sixteen-month old baby boy from Bekasi Regency, West Java, Indonesia has gone viral for weighing 27kg at sixteen-months old. A boy typically meets that weight when he turns eight. The boy, Muhammad Kenzi Alfaro, is extremely obese and has to wear XXXL diapers and his father’s clothes, as normal baby clothes do not fit him
As a result of the baby’s massive size, his family has struggled to find the right size diapers. They reside in a small town that does not have many XXXL nappies. The baby wears double XL diapers only at night due to the family’s financial constraints.
The baby’s mother noticed the weight gain when he was around six months old. The baby’s mother had no breast milk due to a history of gallstones. Therefore, she fed her baby sweetened condensed milk that he drinks four times a day. However, Kenzi began to gain a lot of weight at the age of six months. At present, Kenzi is undergoing regular examinations and treatment for weight loss at a hospital. Upon being informed of the situation, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has ordered his team to keep a watchful eye on the situation and provide medical care.
The baby’s health condition highlights the growing concern of childhood obesity in Southeast Asia. In a separate study from Singapore, childhood obesity has spiked in recent years.
Childhood obesity had already been on the rise in Singapore before the Covid-19 pandemic. With more screen time and sedentary lifestyles during the pandemic, more children are becoming obese.
According to a report by The Straits Times, the Weight Management Clinic at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, which sees overweight or obese children, recorded a 12 percent uptick in cases in July. Medical experts in Singapore warns that Covid-19 infection severity is linked to obesity. Many complications of childhood obesity often begin silently without symptoms. Examples include diabetes or hypertension, which may not be obvious until they reach an advanced stage.
While childhood obesity are concerning, parents and caregivers can take steps to prevent them by encouraging children to spend more time outdoors, engage in physical activities, and eat a balanced diet. With the right care and support, children can develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Image credit: VIVA/Rahmat Fatahillah Ilham