Lizzie Velasquez, a 21-year old and 5ft 2in student living in Texas, weighs only 56 pounds (25kg). The thing is, she is not anorexic, she has a very rare condition that prevents her from gaining weight!
To stay healthy, she has to eat around 60 small meals a day, which correspond to 5000-8000 calories. Even though she eats what could make all of us obese, she has almost 0% body fat and has never weighed more than 60.2 pounds (27.3kg).
Lizzie said: "I weigh myself regularly and if I gain even one pound I get really excited. I eat every 15-20 minutes to keep my energy levels up. I eat small portions of crisps, sweets, chocolate, pizza, chicken, cake, doughnuts, ice cream, noodles and pop tarts all day long, so I get pretty upset when people accuse me of being anorexic. When I meet new people I have to say: 'Hi, I'm Lizzie and I have this rare syndrome, I am NOT anorexic'."
Lizzie has a brother Chris, 12, and a sister Marina, 15, who are both normal.
She was born four weeks prematurely - weighing just 2lb 10oz.
Lizzie's parents said: "They told us they had no idea how she could have survived. They told us she would never be able to walk, talk or have a normal life. We had to buy dolls' clothes from the toy store because baby clothes were too big."
Despite what her appearance might suggest, Lizzie's brain, bones, internal organs… developed normally, but she nearly died twice: once when her appendix ruptured at 16 and another time at 19, because her blood cells were not multiplying properly (she was critically anaemic).
Lizzie was born with two brown eyes, but when she was four, her right eye began to change of color and she became blind from that eye.
As you may have already guessed, she fascinates doctors all over the world and she is part of a genetic study. Professor Garg, the man in charge of this study, believes Lizzie has a form of Neonatal Progeroid Syndrome (NPS) which causes accelerated ageing, fat loss from the face and body, and tissue degeneration.
Eating that much and not gaining weight could be the dream of many people, but not in those conditions. Her life must have been very difficult with having to eat as often and with kids mocking at her…I hope she will have a long life, as healthy as possible!