By Hannah Stevens @Hannahshewans

A MYSTERIOUS eating disorder is causing three siblings to never feel full - with a four-year-old weighing more than a teenager

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The young family live in a small village in Souther Gujarat, India

In a small village in Southern Gujarat, India, parents Rameshbhai and Pragnaben Nandwana are struggling to handle their three overweight children - and can’t stop them from eating.   
 
Daughter Yogita, five, weighs in at 33.5 kilos - a third heavier than other children her age - while her little brother Harsh already weighs 16 kilos at just eighteen months old.  
 
But it is daughter Amisha whose weight is most concerning. At a staggering 51 kilos, the four-year-old weighs almost three times more than an average child her age - and it’s increasing at an alarming rate. 

Five-year-old Yogita weighs in at 33.5 kilos - almost a third heavier than other children her age

Their fourth child Bhavika, however, is a normal, healthy weight.  
 
When the children were born their parents did not spot anything out of the ordinary, but once the siblings started eating solid foods they realised that something was not right. 

The three overweight children consume massive portions of rice, flat bread and dhal to try and quench their appetite

The parents said: “The children seemed healthy and normal when they started on solid food but they started eating like adults - five or six roti flat breads. 
 
“If we didn’t feed them, they cried.”

Rameshbhai and Pragnaben Nandwana's fourth child Bhavika is a normal weight

All three of the children continue to consume massive portions of rice, flat bread, and dhal and their appetite is showing in their weight.  
 
Alisha’s condition is already causing her breathing difficulties and she is continuing to gain weight at a fast pace, putting her health at risk.

When the children were first born they showed no signs of ill health, but when they started eating solid foods things changed

The father said: “We were unable to cope, the kids were suffering too. 
 
“At this age kids generally run and play but ours were having trouble. Once sitting, they couldn’t get back up.”

Their parents said: "If we didn't feed them, they cried."

The couple sought treatment to help their children at Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad.  
 
Rameshbhai said: “I have high hopes that treatment will make my children healthy."

The family is now seeking treatment at Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad

Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at Civil Hospital, Doctor Charul Purani said: “This is a rare case that I’ve seen for the first time.  
 
"They have a lot of respiratory problems. They are not able to breathe properly when they sleep.”

All three children suffer from respiratory problems, especially in their sleep

A series of tests were carried out on all three siblings and blood samples were sent to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where they were tested as part of an international study into the genetic causes of child obesity. 
 
Professor of Metabolism, Sadaf Farooqi said: “We looked at the leptin receptor, which is a gene in the brain that works to regulate appetite, and that’s where we found a mutation.

Doctors found a mutated gene in the children's brain which they believe could be the cause of their endless appetite

“All three children have the same problem, which is a defect that stops that gene from working and as a result their brain does not receive the signal telling them they’re full."

As of the moment, there is no treatment for this condition, but doctors are hopeful.

Prof Farooqi said: “There are potential exciting opportunities for the future.

"A number of possible drugs are currently undergoing trials and those could be useful for these children."

The children's story appears in this week’s Body Bizarre, Thursday November 24, 10pm, on TLC.