By Bilal Kuchay
An eight-year-old Indian girl has tipped the scales at more than nine stone due to her constant cravings for food.
Jafiya Rashid stands 129 cm tall but weighs three times more than children her age.
She suffers from constant bouts of hunger and chomps down five to six breads and three plates of rice at one go.
Even though she takes heavy dinner every night, Jafiya is never satiated and wakes up her mother crying at midnight for more food.
“She has a massive appetite and eats more than us. She can easily eat three plates of rice and 12 to 15 chapatis in a day.
“She never says no to food and feels hungry at odd hours. She would wake up crying every night for food even though she takes heavy dinner. She eats like a 25 year old adult,” said Afroza, Jaffiya’s mother.
Born to Rashid Khan, 38 and Afroza, 35, in Shivpuri in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Jafiya was not always an obese child.
Rashid said: “Jafiya’s weight at the time of birth was only 4.8 lbs. She weighed normal but her four months after her birth, her weight started shooting up.
“Initially we saw her weight as a mark of being healthy. But then she started swelling at an abnormal rate.”
“We ignored her abnormal weight gain until she turned five and weighed a staggering 66 lbs.
By the time Jafiya turned five, she ballooned to 90 lbs.
“We took her to several doctors in Madhya Pradesh but surprisingly doctors did not find anything abnormal about her alarming weight and her appetite. They classified her as being morbidly obese and told us that her cholesterol level is high.
“Due to her weight, Jafiya at times struggles to breathe. She can’t sleep well. The black mark on her forehead is because she sleeps in an unusual way by keeping her forehead against the wall,” said Afroza.
The parents say their first child is a bright student but her school life has been plagued by name calling from peers because of her massive frame.
“She cries every morning while going to school because other students tease her and call her fat.
“She does not even go to play with other kids. If we go to the market, people stop doing everything and start laughing at her. It hurts when people call her fat and laugh at our daughter,” lamented Afroza.
Her distressed parents are now confused what is causing her insatiable appetite and are consulting specialists in advanced hospitals for medical help.
But for Rashid Khan, who works as a contractual labour in the Department of Archaeology and earns £120 a month, supporting the expensive treatment is very difficult.
He says: “No one in our family is obese. God knows why our daughter is fat or hungry all the time.
“We are trying our best to give her treatment but doctors in our city have said he treatment is only possible in big cities like Delhi. But it would be very expensive.
“I can’t afford it here because I have to either stay in a hotel or in a rented apartment, which will be out of my budget. Also the tests are expensive.”
The father is now hoping for government to listen to Jafiya’s ordeal and come forward for help.
“We hope we can get some financial help from the treatment.
“We fear she will quit studies because of the humiliation. All we want her is to live a healthy life just like other children and have a bright future. And treatment is the only way possible,” he said