Although she’s only 10 months old, Columbian baby Juanita Valentina Hernandez weighs more than 40 pounds — the same weight as a typical 5-year-old.
Although she was born at a normal 6 pounds, she began to rapidly gain weight in the weeks that followed. She currently weighs 44 pounds, which has caused doctors to run tests to figure out the reason for her weight gain.
According to the Patron of the Child Growth Foundation, an average 10-month-old baby should weigh around 19 pounds.
“Weight can vary with ethnicity, but regardless of that, this child is vastly, vastly overweight,” Tam Fry, a member of PCGF, said. “It is tragic.”
Juanita’s mother, Sandra Franco, reported that she was anxious about her daughter’s size. According to Franco, Juanita was born thin, then ballooned over the course of 10 months.
“I have realized she is morbidly obese,” Franco said. “Until now I haven’t been able to treat her because I am unemployed and didn’t have the money.”
Fry explained the various reasons that might have caused Juanita’s sudden obesity, although the specialists have yet to pinpoint one. Prader-Willi syndrome, which causes a permanent feeling of hunger, or Cushings syndrome, where high levels of stress cause weight gain, could both be contributing factors. Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, also known as the “overgrowth” syndrome, could also be a cause of Juanita’s weight gain.
Thanks to Colombian charity Gorditos de Corazon (Chubby Hearts), Juanita was brought to Colombia's capital, Bogota, where a team of specialists began treatment. Juanita is the third baby the team has worked with in the past year who weighs more than 40 pounds.
Gorditos de Corazon founder Salvador Palacio Gonzales noted it's important to intervene before Juanita reaches her first birthday, because preventing conditions associated with obesity will become more difficult when she becomes a toddler. The most immediate risk for Juanita is the possibility of developing Type 2 diabetes at age 2 or 3. If Juanita develops diabetes, the risk of her having heart disease in her teenage years will also increase.
Franco asked all mothers to take care of their children and prevent them from getting sick.
Photo Credit: Gorditos de Corazon, Wikimedia Commons, puuikibeach/Flickr