Jessica Leonard faced the common struggle of maintaining healthy eating habits, a challenge prevalent among many Americans. In 2014, the CDC reported that 36.5 percent of adults and 17 percent of children ages two to 19 were grappling with obesity. At eight years old, Jessica found herself among those statistics, earning the title of the world’s heaviest child, weighing in at 420 pounds.
Excessive eating and constant snacking took a toll on Jessica’s body, hindering her ability to attend school. The strain on her legs led to mobility issues, ultimately compelling her to navigate her home by rolling on the floor.
However, in their Knoxville, Tennessee, home, Carolyn Leonard, Jessica’s mother, consistently stocked the fridge and pantry with the specific foods Jessica insisted on consuming. Carolyn shared with Inside Edition, “She wanted to eat like every two hours.”
However, things took a turn when the young girl started experiencing respiratory difficulties. East Tennessee Children’s Hospital became the critical turning point, prompting Child Protective Services to intervene.
They mandated Jessica’s transfer to a Virginia-based obesity clinic. To support her daughter’s recovery, Carolyn was instructed to attend parenting classes, ensuring a supportive environment for Jessica upon her return home.
Remarkably, at the clinic, Jessica Leonard shed an impressive 320 pounds through disciplined diet and exercise, without the need for surgery!
Upon returning home, Jessica resumed school, maintaining a rigorous routine with five weekly physical therapy sessions and Carolyn overseeing her diet.
Although she’ll undergo surgery to address the 20 pounds of loose skin, Jessica Leonard now relishes a carefree childhood, liberated from the weight that once burdened her.
Do you know someone who struggles with overweight? Do you think losing weight is a matter of will or there are other factors at play? Let us know in the comments below!