DASHAN, China – The desperate parents of a severely overweight 3-year-old boy said they cannot make the giant toddler diet because they are scared of him, The Sun reported Wednesday.
Lu Hao, from China, weighs 132 pounds, which is five times as heavy as other boys his age.
Ironically, when Lu Hao was born he was underweight, at 5.7 pounds, but he started putting on weight at 3 months old and has not stopped.
Dr. Ari Brown, Texas-based pediatrician and author of the Expecting 411 book series, told FoxNews.com that Lu Hao’s below-average birth weight may have contributed to his current weight.
“Babies who gain excessive weight in infancy are at risk for obesity later in life. That sometimes occurs when a baby starts out smaller than average and rapidly gains more weight beyond what doctors would expect for ‘catch-up growth,’” Brown said.
He is getting so big that his parents are frightened of him — and they claim the youngster throws vicious tantrums if they try to stop him from gorging on huge plates of ribs and rice. They claim that although they try to cut his meals, he has gained 21 pounds in the last year.
"We have to let him be, as if we don't feed him, he will cry nonstop," his mother Chen Huan, from Dashan, in Guangdong Province, said.
Brown said that parents are the ones who need to control what and how much a child eats.
“They have to set healthy limits on behaviors—and those are not always popular with the child. As a parent, you are not your child’s friend. You are their confidant, their advocate and their advisor. You still love your child, and your child will still love you, even when you set healthy limits on behaviors,” she said.
He was banned from kindergarten over fears that his size might be a danger to other children and usually plays alone at home — but moving around is becoming tougher and tougher for the overweight toddler.
"His appetite is so good that for a meal he can eat three big bowls of rice, even larger than I and his mother," his father Lu Yuncheng, who struggles to pick him up, told The Sun.
“Your average preschooler should eat about half of an adult serving size, not three times an adult portion,” Brown said about what she calls an extreme example of the results of excessive calorie intake and inactivity.
Last year, Lu Hao's worried parents took him to see specialists at the Guangdong Children's Hospital, where doctors said they think it is possible his weight gain could be due to a hormone disorder.