Do you remember the two-year-old tot who shocked the world with his 40 cigarettes a day smoking habit?
Indonesian boy Ardi Rizal, caused concern and outrage when he was seen puffing away while riding his bike seven years ago. Now nine, the young boy has kicked the habit and turned his life around.
But it hasn’t been an easy journey for the little boy who developed a food addiction after giving up cigarettes when he was five.
That caused him to pile on weight, but over the last few years, he has managed to lose the extra pounds.
The boy, from a remote village in Sumatra, became the focus of international concern when the photos of him smoking were first revealed.
With government intervention and intensive specialist care, Ardi’s parents were able to wean him off cigarettes, only to have his addiction replaced with food.
Speaking four years ago, his mum said: “At first when we were weaning Ardi off the cigarettes, he would have terrible tantrums. But he doesn’t want them now.”
Weighing 22kg by age five, Ardi made headlines again for being almost six kilogrammes above the ideal weight for a child of his age.
This led to an investigation into his parents and his community by Indonesia’s Woman’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry.
Ardi’s parents revealed that the smoking addiction started when Ardi’s father gave him his first cigarette when he was only 18 months old.
By diverting his addiction from cigarettes to food, Ardi’s love for junk food developed so quickly his parents had to seek the help of a nutritionist to fight the new focus of his compulsion.
Now, with the help of Indonesia’s government and a nutritionist, Ardi has re-emerged as an addiction-free nine-year-old.
The nine-year-old, who consumed three cans of condensed milk a day, was restricted to a diet consisting of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables to help him lose weight.
Now much healthier, Ardi has managed to keep his compulsions at bay by focusing on excelling at school... PunchNg