The former fattest person in Asia has gladly laid aside the title after losing 100kg in a year, and said on Wednesday that he hoped to lose even more weight so he could realize his dream of becoming a singer.
Wu Chien-shun (吳健順), a 19-year-old college student, weighed 226kg and had a body mass index (BMI) of 85.6 before undergoing gastric bypass surgery last year. Since the surgery, he lost 100kg and grew 4cm in height.
Wu told a press conference in Greater Kaohsiung that his appetite had grown rapidly when he was in elementary school. He went to an all-you-can-eat hotpot restaurant at least once a week, ate eight bowls of dry noodles at every meal as well as lots of snacks, so that by the time he was in his first year of junior high school, he weighed more than 100kg, he said. By the time he was ready to enter high school he weighed 160kg.
His family was very concerned about him and his grandmother left him NT$250,000 in her will to help fund his weight loss efforts, Wu’s father said, adding that soon after Wu had been accepted into college, he took time off from his studies for the operation.
Huang Chih-kun (黃致錕), head of E-Da Hospital’s Bariatric and Metabolic International Surgery Center, told the press conference that when Wu entered the hospital, it had checked his statistics with weight loss centers around the region and discovered he was the heaviest man in Asia.
Once people’s BMI exceeds 40 percent, they are considered to be morbidly obese, a condition that could lead to sleep apnea, high blood pressure, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cardiovascular diseases and even an increased susceptibility to cancer, Huang said.
Wu had developed sleep apnea that woke him up at least two to three times a night, and it was made worse if he slept lying down, so Wu slept sitting up for more than three years, Huang said.
Wu said he had been fine with his weight up until high school, when he started to get jealous that his friends all had girlfriends, and that had been the first impetus to try to lose weight. However, everything he tried from Chinese medicine to Western medicine and eating meal replacements did not work.
It became difficult to walk, Wu said, but it was only after visits to numerous clinics and undergoing other treatments that he finally went to E-Da Hospital.
Huang said he persuaded Wu to undergo a type of gastric bypass surgery whereby the stomach is divided into an upper and lower pouch, connected by the smaller intestines. The surgery reduced Wu’s stomach function to roughly 25ml in size and stretched the smaller intestines by 300cm, which decreased the stomach’s ability to absorb nutrients by half.
The result is that Wu now feels full after eating two dumplings, Huang said. The downside to the surgery is that patients have to take vitamins for an extended period to prevent anemia and calcium loss, he said.
Wu said he has begun an exercise regime that includes a 40-minute walk, baseball and bowling.
Asked about his thoughts on the effects of the surgery, Wu was very positive, saying he no longer has breathing difficulty when he walks and many of his friends and relatives were surprised at his massive weight loss.
He said he hopes to bring his weight down to below 100kg this year.