The king ordered Khalid bin Mohsen Shaari, who weighs 1,345 pounds (610kg) and is unable to move by himself, be transferred from the Southern border province of Jazan to the country’s capital Riyadh to undergo treatment.
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According to Guinness World Records, the record weight for a living person is held by Manuel Uribe from Mexico, who weighed 1,235 pounds (560kg) in 2006. After making a television appeal for help, his weight in March 2012 had fallen to 980 pounds (444.6 kg.)
According to the official spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health, Shaari was due to arrive in Riyadh either later Monday or on Tuesday. Pictures showed a fork-lift truck lifting him in is bed. The spokesman said Shaari is aged between 18 and 20.
He will be treated at the King Fahd Medical City, and undergo a series of dietary and physical programs in order to help him lose weight, the spokesman said. Although surgery is not scheduled at the moment, the Ministry of Health says it has not been ruled out. Special beds and trolleys have been made for him.
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This case highlights how obesity is a growing problem in the Gulf.
According to the U.N., Kuwait has the highest proportion of obese adults in the Middle East, with 42.8% of its population considered severely overweight. Saudi Arabia follows at 35.2%.
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 lifestyle diseases.