A MUM has been forced to put a baby-gate on her kitchen to stop her five-year-old stealing food.
Holly Williams’ daughter Harlow was diagnosed with Prader Willi syndrome – a condition Katie Price’s son Harvey also has – at just six months old.
The rare genetic condition, that affects one in 15,000 children in England, means Harlow is missing chromosome 15 which controls hunger, and therefore never feels full.
Mum-of-one Holly, 25, from Newport, Wales, has had to keep food out of reach of Harlow and will have to start putting locks on cabinets as she gets older and taller.
“If I were to leave a plate of cakes on the side and I wasn’t around, Harlow would easily eat them all.
“It’s happened plenty of times before,” she said.
“She has scoffed an entire grab bag of chocolate that was left on the side before, while I wasn’t in the room,” she added.
As a result of the condition, Harlow – who weighs around 7st – is roughly 44lbs heavier than the average five-year-old girl.
Holly said: “She eats a full meal and will say she is hungry again straight away. It’s really difficult because she constantly wants to eat and I have to make sure she doesn’t.”
Before having Harlow, Holly didn’t know what Prader Willi syndrome was – but she says it was evident her daughter wasn’t developing in the usual way.
“She was tiny and only weighed 4lbs 12oz.
“She was really floppy, had no strength, didn’t cry, and wouldn’t feed properly on a bottle.
“The doctors assumed it was Prader Willi syndrome because they said they could tell from her features too, such as her eyes, nose and mouth.”
Prader Willi also delayed Harlow reaching milestones while growing up.
She couldn’t hold her head up until she was eight months old and didn’t walk until she was two and a half years old.
“Now she is five, she suffers with some mobility issues. She doesn’t walk far and gets out of breath easily, however, the fact she is overweight doesn’t help.
“She also suffers with sleep apnoea.”
Little Harlow also has some behavioural issues – which are common among children with the condition.
“I have to be stern with her otherwise she would rule my life,” Holly said.
Harlow can be stuck in her ways and can have an attitude as if she’s 15 not five, Holly explained.
“Harlow will sometimes throw a tantrum if she can’t get her own way, for example if I tell her no when she wants more food.
“She will throw her iPad, kick her legs and scream and cry,” she explained.
Despite her condition, Harlow is a “happy girl”, her mum said.
“She is at a mainstream school and is getting on really well.”
What are the symptoms of Prader Willi syndrome?
The Prader-Will Syndrome Association UK describes the medical characteristics of the condition as:
• Hypotonia: weak muscle tone, and floppiness at birth.
• Hypogonadism: immature development of sexual organs and other sexual characteristics.
• Obesity: caused by excessive appetite and overeating (hyperphagia), and a decreased calorific requirement owing to low energy expenditure levels, although obesity is not normally a feature of those whose food intake is strictly controlled.
• Central nervous system and endocrine gland dysfunction: causing varying degrees of learning disability, short stature, hyperphagia, somnolence (excessive sleepiness), and poor emotional and social development.
Can Prader Willi syndrome be cured?
As it currently stands, there is no cure for Prader Willi syndrome.
Those who have been diagnosed with the condition are encouraged to take measures to lessen the severity of symptoms and associated problems.
Parents of child sufferers are asked to monitor any excessive eating and try to keep balanced and healthy meals on the menu.
Source: The Sun