The child suffers from Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, and was diagnosed with it at the age of three.
‘The obese boy suffering from Prader-Willi Syndrome weighed 23 stones. Engaging in fire therapy and cupping treatment helped him shed 2.4 stones’
Prader-Willi Syndrome was first described in 1956 by Swiss doctors A Prader, A Labhart and H Willi. It is characterized by problems including constant urges to eat food, restricted growth and reduced muscle tone.
Other potential issues include learning difficulties, lack of sexual development and behavioral problems such as tantrums or stubbornness.
The rare condition, which affects one in every 15,000 children born in England, happens by chance. It is caused by a defect on chromosome number 15.
There is no cure and the treatment aims to manage the symptoms by maintaining a healthy and balanced diet regimen.
Children with the syndrome can eat up to six times more than children of the same age..
LI Hang's Journey
Li Hang belongs to the city of Harbin in the neighboring Heilongjiang Province.
Aound four years of age, he already weighed 6.7 stone (94 pounds), which was about 2.5 times the weight of his peers.
The average weight for a four-year-old boy in China is 2.6 stone (36.6 pounds), according to China's National Health and Family Planning Commission.
Li Hang's weight increased dramatically over the years.
He was diagnosed with more than ten obesity related illnesses, including high blood pressure, fat liver and gout.
In March, 2016, Li Hang, who was 5ft tall, measured 26.2 stone (368 pounds) in weight. His family encouraged him to lose weight through exercising, but his various attempts all failed.
His family then took him to the Number One Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Heilongjiang, where he underwent gastric bypass surgery..
Li Hang's weight dropped to 22 stone (315 pounds) after the surgery, but it quickly bounced back to 23 stone (330 pounds).
The boy is currently undergoing treatment at the Changchun Kangda Hospital in Changchun city, north-east China's Jilin Province, which specializes in obesity-related illnesses. Among the hospital's 53 overweight patients, seven were reported to be children.
There, Li underwent a number of treatments including fire cupping, fire therapy and acupuncture.
Fire therapy is typically used to help the patient lose weight or reduce bloating. The therapist would cover the patient's skin with a wet towel then light another alcohol-soaked towel over their skin to carry out the treatment.
Cupping is normally used to relieve muscle pain and facilitate blood circulation while acupuncture sees medicinal needles inserted into the patient's 'acupuncture points' to help relieve headache and pain.
Li Hang has lost 2.4 stone (34 pounds) since he started the traditional Chinese medicine treatment two months ago.
Statistics on obesity in China
- Prevalence of childhood overweight rose from 1.11% to 9.62% between 1985 and 2010.
- Overweight and obesity were found to be most common among boys living in urban regions (23.25).
- World Obesity Federation expects China to top the world in childhood obesity in 2025.
- Obese children aged between five and 18 will reach over 48 million in China in a decade.