Saudi Arabian King Abdullah has intervened to help save the life of his largest subject, ordering Khalid bin Mohsen to be specially transported from the southern border province of Jazan to the country’s capital to undergo treatment. Nineteen-year-old Shaari, who weighs 1,345 pounds, is believed to be one of the world’s heaviest humans.
The young man, who is unable to move by himself, will be treated at the King Fahd Medical City in Riyadh, where a special bed and trolleys have been created to move the man.
Saudi media released pictures showing him being lifted by fork-lift truck from his home. A spokesman from the Ministry of Health has said that surgery is not currently planned, but it hasn’t been ruled out.
The case casts the teen as an unwitting poster boy for the Gulf’s growing obesity problem.
According to United Nations studies, Kuwait holds the current top spot for the highest proportion of obese adults in the Middle East, with 42.8% of its population severely overweight. Saudi Arabia follows at 35.2%. Other studies tag Qatar as the world’s heavyweight champ. Any way you slice it, the region has an epidemic of overweight.
The growth of obesity in the region is also an economic concern. According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, healthcare spending across the Gulf will triple to $133.2 billion by 2018, mainly as a result of diabetes and heart disease.
Green Prophet’s brought you the story of Dubai’s “Your Weight in Gold” initiative, where residents were paid in gold to drop flab over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Yet for every step forward, there’s an overeating enabler, like the Saudi home delivery service for junk food.
Globally, obesity is now deadlier than hunger. Insha’allah that the royal intervention will save Shaari’s life and serve as wake-up call to his Gulf neighbors.