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The 'Half Ton' Mom, Dad and Son

Monday, September 07, 2009 Posted by Peter Janiszewski, PhD

While we usually don't post on holidays such as today, I just had to share the fascinating shows I watched last night.

For some reason, the Learning Channel had a barrage of shows dealing with obesity. Three of these were particularly interesting as they dealt with the struggles of life among the most obese individuals in the world. The shows focused on the late Renee Williams, apparently the heaviest woman in the world (980 lbs), Kenneth Brumley, the heaviest man in the world (1035 lbs), and Billy Robbins, the heaviest teenager (838 lbs). In addition to all being massively obese, they all resided in Houston, Texas. However, they were not in any way related to one another.

In each one of these cases, the individuals were removed from their homes (walls had to come down) and taken to hospitals in an effort to help them lose weight. All 3 underwent gastric bypass surgery - a very risky procedure in such individuals. Withink 2 weeks of the surgery, sadly, Renee Williams, 29, and mother of 2, died of a heart attack. However, from what I can gather both Kenneth and Billy have recovered well from the surgery and have lost a tremendous amount of weight. Rather than going through each of these cases, I have provided YouTube links below to 2 of these individuals (for some reason YouTube would not allow me to imbed the videos here).

What are your reactions to these videos? Does it surprise you that a human body can gain that much excess adipose tissue and keep living? Is it coincidental that all of these individuals resided within the same city?


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4 Response to "The 'Half Ton' Mom, Dad and Son"

  1. Anonymous Said,

    I do wonder how someone can get that big but what I found absolutely appalling were the nasty comments that were posted about her on the comment section under the video.

    I find it difficult to believe how cruel people can be about obese individuals.

    Posted on September 7, 2009 at 2:21 PM

  2. Peter Janiszewski, PhD (Cand.), MSc Said,

    @ Anonymous - I know exactly what you are describing. I was also taken aback when I briefly scrolled through the comments. Quite sad how pervasive and polarized weight discrimination has become.

    Posted on September 7, 2009 at 5:30 PM

  3. justjuliebean Said,

    I saw these three shows a few months back. What floors me is that these people cannot get that big on their own, there is somebody co-enabling this stuff. These people can hardly get out of bed, they're not going grocery shopping.

    I find the vitriol aimed at obese people to be really outrageous. I don't understand all the hatred. Whatever I may think of what people look like, what they eat, drive, wear, drink, marry, do for work or entertainment is my right to think but not oppress others with my views. Ugly hateful attitudes.

    Posted on September 10, 2009 at 8:18 PM

  4. Aline Said,

    I am re-watching her special on TLC. She is in total denial and that is the problem with most of obese people (or people with addictions, anorexia, bulimia, etc). She stated she didnt smell, that she didnt eat all the time, that she could move fine. As you watch the show half-way through her cook, children and close family ALL testified on how compulsively and abunduntly she ate. They also stated her sores were unsanitary and smelly. She was bed ridden for 4 years and had everything handed to her. She gained 400lbs in 4 yrs for lack of mobility. To top it all out she was referring to her as overweight... Everything about her was complete denial. I surely hope that hospital and doctors had this woman signed all kinds of affidavits and retainers because I could not see her surviving this. People who allow themselves to become fat-monsters must do some homework before undergoing surgery or the easy way out.

    Posted on May 23, 2010 at 8:47 PM


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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