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High Intermediate Reading: The 380kg Teenager

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British television recently showed a programme on the plight of 19 year-old Texan teenager, Billy Robbins, who weighed an unbelievable 180 kg.
Officially the world’s heaviest teenager, Billy was housebound for 3 years after gorging himself on junk-food. At the peek of his food addiction he was eating 8000 calories each day.
His mother described him as a picky eater for not liking vegetables and it was her waiting on him hand and foot, she feels, that caused him to become so obese; she never said 'no' to his requests for food even though it was causing him to put on so much weight.
With the help of doctors, Billy embarked on a strict weight-loss plan that reduced his calorie intake to 1200 every day. As part of his treatment Billy underwent an operation. He had gastric by-pass surgery which made his stomach shrink and meant that he could only eat small amounts of food.
As a result, Billy now weighs 180kg which is still a lot, but it is much lighter than he was. Without the operation the strain on Billy’s heart would have been too much and he probably would have died.

Key words

plight - an unpleasant condition, especially a serious, sad or difficult one.
housebound - unable to leave your home, especially because of a health problem.
gorging - eating until you can't eat any more. Eating too much.
calories - the units of energy which are used as a measurement for the amount of energy which food provides.
picky - describes someone who is very careful about choosing only what they like.
waiting on someone hand and foot - to do everything for someone so that they do not have to do anything for themselves.
obese - extremely fat.
embarked - to start something new or important.
underwent - to have experienced something which was unpleasant or which involved a change. The past tense of 'undergo'.
gastric by-pass surgery - An operation which makes the stomach smaller and allows food to bypass part of the small intestine.
shrink - to become smaller.
strain - pressure.

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