By Haziq Qadri @haziq_qadri
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Videographer / director: Ajay Verma
Producer: Haziq Qadri, Ruby Coote
Editor: Sonia Estal
Eight-month-old Chahat Kumar from Punjab, India was born an average weight but started ballooning in size at the age of four months.
And now the bouncing baby weighs in at 2.7 stones - the same as an average four-year-old.
Dad Suraj Kumar, 23, said: “When Chahat was born, she was completely normal. Then, slowly we saw that her weight was shooting up.
“Her weight is increasing day by day.”
Her parents are baffled by what is causing their daughter's insatiable appetite and are now growing increasingly worried for Chahat’s health.
Chahat’s mother Reena, 21, explained: “Before Chahat, we had a son who died, and then Chahat was born. Now, we have a single child only and I don’t want to lose her. I am concerned about her health.”
Worried Reena, who lost her first baby in childbirth, estimates that Chahat eats four times the amount of food of a normal-sized child her age.
She said: “She doesn’t eat like a normal kid. She keeps eating all the time. If we don’t give her anything to eat, she starts crying.
“She cries to go out but her weight is too much and we are not able to pick her up. So we only take her to nearby places.”
Chahat’s parents deny that her extreme weight gain has anything to do with her upbringing.
Dad Suraj said: “It’s not our fault. God gave this condition to her. It’s not in our hands. I feel bad when some people laugh at her for being fat.”
Due to the excessive weight the baby is now experiencing problems with both her breathing and sleeping. And her condition has even baffled the family’s local doctor in Punjab.
Unfortunately Chahat also suffers from abnormally hard skin which has made taking blood samples to analyze her condition more difficult, and the family lack the funds needed to travel further afield for more advanced medical treatment.
Reena explained: “We don’t have enough money for her treatment but we do our best to make sure she gets well. But the problem is with her skin. Her skin is so hard that doctors have failed to take a sample from her body.”
The Kumar’s doctor, Vasudev Sharma confirmed that the difficulty with taking blood samples has made a medical diagnosis very difficult.
He said: “This is the first case I’ve seen in my life where a child’s weight has been shooting up so much four to five months after birth.”
“But the blood test couldn’t be carried out because the fat on the baby’s body was too much, and because of that, the blood test wasn’t done properly.
“We have tried it many times. Her skin is so hard that we can’t ever diagnose her condition.”
Dr Sharma has recommended that the family visit a Pediatric specialist at the Civil Hospital in Amritsar, but the family’s financial restraints has so far made this impossible.
But Dr Sharma is certain that Chahat’s growing size needs to be addressed.
He said: “Her weight is increasing excessively and it has to be controlled.
“She has to eat less. She eats like a 10-year-old kid.”
And while the family continue to search for answers, mum Reena dreams of her daughter having a brighter, lighter future.
She said: “We want Chahat to be able to play like normal kids. We don’t want her to have difficulties in the future.
“We want a good future for her.”