2004 Photo Contest, Contemporary Issues, 3rd prize

Felicia Webb

Independent Photographers Group

04 July, 2003

Jonathan Rojo (14), sleeps attached to a BIPAP machine that forces air into his nostrils to counter the effects of obstructive sleep apnea. The condition is caused by excess fat constricting the throat, resulting in a chronic lack of oxygen. Jonathan weighs 118 kilograms. His sister Yomara is nine and weighs 70 kilograms. The World Health Organization has called obesity 'a global epidemic', and it is set to become the number one killer in the United States. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and the numbers are on the increase. Houston, where Jonathan and his sister live, has been named the fattest city in the US for the last three years running, with 37 per cent of children overweight, and 22 per cent obese. Across the country, obesity claims around 325,000 lives each year - more than the combined deaths from alcohol, drugs, shootings and road accidents, and second only to smoking-related deaths.

About the photographer

Felicia Webb

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