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Cigarette-smoking toddler who shocked the world with his 40-a-day habit has given up... but now he's addicted to food

WORLD
By DailyMail | November 18th 2013

Adapted from DailyMail

At the age of two he shocked the world after being pictured chain-smoking cigarettes.

Two years on he's now a normal, cheeky five-year-old - and, while he's managed to kick the habit, he now has another addiction. Food.

Aldi Rizal became an international media sensation when he was discovered in a poor village in Sumatra, Indonesia, puffing on a cigarette while riding his tricycle.

The outcry led to the Indonesian government launching a campaign to tackle the problem of children smoking and organising special rehabilitation treatment to help Aldi quit.

Aldi was taken for play therapy sessions in the capital Jakarta for two weeks to take his mind off his 40-a-day habit and learn to be a normal toddler for the first time.

A new documentary series revisits the family two years on to find out how Aldi is getting on and reveals he has managed to stay off the cigarettes, but is still dangerously unhealthy.

During his rehabilitation treatment, Aldi saw psychiatrists who encouraged his mother to keep him busy with playing and taught her about the dangers of smoking.

One of them - Dr Kak Seto - still sees Aldi and his family at regular intervals to ensure he is not falling back into old habits.

His mother Diane Rizal, 28, said: 'There are many people still offering Aldi cigarettes, but Aldi no. He says "I love Kak Seto. He would be sad if I started smoking again and made myself ill."

'At first when we were weaning Aldi off the cigarettes he would have terrible tantrums and I would call Dr Seto for help.

'But now he doesn't want them.'

However, Mrs Rizal is now worried about her son's weight, as he developed food cravings while quitting smoking, and now has a big appetite.

Mrs Rizal said the strong-willed little boy now demands food in the same way he used to beg for cigarettes, and the family struggles not to give in to his tantrums.

Mrs Rizal said: 'When Aldi first quit smoking he would demand a lot of toys.

'He would bang his head on the wall if he couldn't get what he wanted. That's why I get him cigarettes in the first place - because of his temper and his crying.

'Now I don't give him cigarettes, but he eats a lot. With so many people living in the house it's hard to stop him from getting food.'

Aldi also helps his mother and father Mohamed out on their market stall, where his bright bubbly character and cheekiness wins him lots of attention.

'I feel happy when people want to speak to him because the know him,' admitted Mrs Rizal.


'But I feel annoyed when they refer to him as 'the smoking kid'. It makes me feel like they are accusing me of being a bad parent.'

Mr and Mrs Rizal decided to take Aldi to a nutritionist for medical checks and now they've been given advice on how to put him on a healthier diet so he can start to lose some weight.

'Aldi is very overweight, his weight doesn't match his age,' said nutritionist Fransisca Dewi. 'His ideal weight is 17kg to 19kg. He's 24kg already.

'I think it is difficult for them. The mother says Aldi is a spoilt kid. If Diana wants to forbid him eating, it will be hard.

'She will need the cooperation from the entire household. One obvious thing is they let him have too much condensed milk. He drinks three cans a day and eats too many carbohydrates.'

Paediatric specialist Dr William Nawawi is also concerned that smoking at an early age has made Aldi more likely to suffer weight issues.

He explained: 'Nicotine can increase the endocrine hormone in the body. This condition can cause resistance to insulin.

'The blood will not be able to break glucose from food. This will make Aldi become bigger and bigger.'

Now, Aldi is back at home in his fishing village and is on a strict diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and smaller portions.

Mrs Rizal must also persuade Aldi's siblings and the rest of the family not to give in and provide him with junk food when she is not around.

Doctors hope that if Aldi can lose around half a stone to a stone, his weight will eventually even out as he starts to grow taller.

It is thought one-third of children in Indonesia try smoking before the age of ten. The Government has launched efforts to tackle the problem.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2508985/Cigarette-smoking-toddler-shocked-world-40-day-habit-given--hes-addicted-food.html

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