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Colombian baby who weighs 20 kilos is put on strict diet of fruit, veg and exercise by charity

8-month-old 'compulsive eater' Santiago Mendoza weighs the same as a six-year-old

By Rob Williams

Tipping the scales at over 20 kilos, 8-month-old Santiago Mendoza weighs the same as an average six-year-old child, and is over three times heavier than he should be, doctors have said.

Now Santiago, who doctors describe as a 'compulsive eater', has been rescued by a charity so he can undergo life-saving treatment.

The boy, whose family is from the Colombian city of Valledupar in the northeast of the country, will now be put on a strict diet and encouraged to undertake physical activity.

The Chubby Hearts foundation charity (Gorditos de Corazon) stepped in after being asked for help by Eunice Fandiño, the mother of the child. She told the charity that the boy's weight gain was because everytime he cried she gave him milk or other food to settle him.

"I am worried because first of all it is difficult to carry him around," she said. "He looks very cute like this but his health is not good and so I think he should receive help so he is able to get back to his normal weight."

Chubby Hearts director Salvador Palacio González said the child had been repeatedly given too much food and constant milk bottles: "He has a metabolic syndrome, in other words progressive weight gain, and he is also suffering from lung problems and anxiety, he is a compulsive eater."

The folds of fat on the child have been hindering his development, preventing him from learning the ability to roll over or crawl.

Doctors have now put Santiago on a strict vegetable and fruit juice diet: "We obviously depend on the mother's care, we have all the specialists and our commitment is complete," said Salvador Palacio González.

"We have to subject him to some physical activity therapy programmes, we logically also have to place him on a diet. The most important thing is to improve his social surroundings because we're talking about a low-income family," he added.

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