A Colombian baby, Santiago, has made headlines as one of the fattest infants in the world. Weighing 44 lbs., the 8-month-old has to be placed on a special diet to help him lose weight.
Santiago is double the median weight for a baby his age, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics — weighing at about the equivalent of a 6-year-old child. He is unable to move properly due to his rolls of fat, which caused his mother Eunice Fandino to seek medical aid.
Volunteers from Chubby Hearts Foundation (Gorditos de Corazon) picked up the child after Fandino asked for help, and he was taken to Bogotá for life-saving treatment.
“I’m worried about his obesity,” Fandino told RCN Television, according to ABC News. “I don’t want him to continue like this so, God willing, the treatment they’re going to give him for his heart will work to reduce his weight.” Doctors are placing Santiago on a fruit and vegetable diet and weaning him off baby formula, with the plan of getting him down to 17 lbs.
Fandino admits that her own “ignorance” is what has caused Santiago’s obesity. In order to calm him down, she just fed him. “He was born with an anxiety, so if he cried I just fed him,” Fandino told El Espectador.
Doctors at the Colina Clinic believe he will need long-term treatment, including proper “education, healthy food, and when he is older, physical activity,” Cesar Ernesto Guevar, a surgeon, told El Espectador. “Otherwise, in the future, he could suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and severe problems with his joints.”
Infants are meant to be somewhat plump — that’s where the name “baby fat” comes from. But babies who gain weight far too quickly can be a concern. “Excess or accelerated weight gain even in the first four or six months of life may be setting up kids for overweight, for higher blood pressure, maybe even asthma over the first years in childhood,” Dr. Matthew Gillman, a pediatrician and epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, told NPR. “I was a pretty chubby baby myself,” he added.