Eight-month-old Santiago Mendoza weighs in at 44 pounds, over twice what his weight should be for a boy under the age of one. His morbid heaviness puts him closer to what a 6-year-old would weigh, and unless something was immediately done, the obese baby would suffer irreparable damage to his health.
The 8-month-old Colombian boy can barely move, reports ABC News on March 19. Rolls of fat folds hinder Santiago from learning to walk properly, and at 44 pounds, he is Colombia's most obese baby for his age.
In steps The Chubby Hearts Foundation – a volunteer group that specializes in childhood obesity. Santiago and his mother, Eunice Fandino, were flown from their home in the north east city of Valledupar to the capital city Bogota, where Santiago will receive medical help and be put on a strict diet.
Fandino said she reached out to Chubby Hearts, desperate for help and admitting that she was the cause for her son’s grossly overweight frame. Santiago had already been hospitalized multiple times in his short eight months because of his unhealthy weight.
“He was born with an anxiety, so if he cried I just fed him,” Fandino admitted, adding that it was her own “ignorance” that led to this situation and that she has been embarrassed to take him out of the house.
“I’m worried about his obesity,” Fandino said. “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 said they will try to get his weight down by limiting the infant to fruits and veggies, weaning him off of his constant formula feedings, and ultimately submitting him to operations if they can successfully shed about half of the boy’s mass.
“Likely, what he will need is a long-term treatment, education, healthy food, and when he is older, physical activity,” surgeon Cesar Ernesto Guevar said. “Otherwise, in the future, he could suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure and severe problems with his joints.”