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Not New News, But Still Unbelievable: Half Ton Son

September 5, 2011

In case you haven’t noticed (DailyMail, Lady Diana, etc), the British media is as sensationalistic, voyeuristic, and generally appalling as the American media, and sometimes even worse.

In 2009, Britain’s Channel 4 featured 19 year old Billy Robbins, who at that time weighed 60 stone…or 840 pounds (!!), and he was reported to be the “Heaviest Teenager in the World.” He is from Houston, Texas and “his weight has reached critical proportions. But for now, everyday goes on as normal.”

Normal?! Billy is “almost immobile…and for the last 3 years, he has barely left his bedroom.” This is truly tragic. His mother goes on to talk about how her son was “chunky” in Kindergarten, but she believed he would grow up to be a successful football player and support her.

“…I never in my wildest dreams did think that he would get this big.”

Billy’s mom has to bathe him as he can “do very little for himself” and says that being heavy is “a whole different world.” Now, how did Billy get so extremely large? Well, his mother has some comments about that too:

Now, I have worked with many overweight and obese children, and the aspect that has been the most upsetting to me was the role that their parents played in their weight struggles. Either they were coddled with food or malnourished because of the ignorance of their parents or their parents simply paid no attention to what their children were eating or a combination thereof, and it is almost as if these children are victims of their family situations. And it seems like Billy is in the same predicament. Although 19 (and therefore should be making his own choices…), his mother has been unwilling to put limits on his eating or assist him in building a healthy lifestyle and in fact has been perpetuating his obesity (albeit perhaps unconsciously) but her support and changing her own lifestyle can make all the difference in his. Clearly, many things have to change in this situation and it has spiraled completely out of control, but change starts at home. I tried to find out where Billy is now and what has happened to him, but could not find any information. What do you think of this extreme situation?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. jenmarie permalink
    September 6, 2011 1:48 am

    This certainly brings up a lot about the role a parent plays in childhood obesity. This mother was clearly an enabler for years…at least in the second clip she acknowledges the role she played and has started counseling to learn how to turn things around. That’s a good start, but what a struggle ahead! Presumably, she was feeding her son terribly for a long time before he became a legal adult. Is this child abuse? Is there any way society can prevent this from happening? When I see things like this, I’m just at a complete loss. To some degree we’ve been desensitized to this level of extreme obesity, but it never fails to shock me.

  2. arielle permalink
    September 7, 2011 2:30 pm

    Yeesh. It’s true that the British media can be so over-the-top sensationalist, but that is a very sad, extreme case. I found an article from a couple years ago saying that Billy ended up having major surgery to remove about half of his bodyweight:
    At the weight he was at, would it even be possible to lose it naturally?


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