THE case of a man who weighs 383 kilos (60 stone) and whose regular trips to hospital have become a running story in the Spanish press has put the spotlight on the waistlines of the population.
Two-thirds of people in the Valencian region have problems with their weight, with 90,000 classified as morbidly obese and another 5,000 super obese.
But not many approach the weight of 34-year-old Teófilo Rodríguez who was recently sent home from hospital despite the protests of his family.
They pointed out they did not have the specialist equipment needed to care for a man of his size. In fact the health authorities do not even have a stretcher capable of taking his weight.
On his discharge from hospital they had to use a removals van to take him home. But he never left the van as he was too heavy for his family to move him. Five hours later he returned to hospital suffering from breathing problems and was readmitted.
Doctors say they do not know how widespread the problem of extremely heavy people like Teófilo is. They point out that their scales only measure up to 250 kilos.
But they do want to ensure there are no more cases like his by emphasising prevention in the form of a better diet and more exercise. And they say parents have a big say in this – obese children will more often than not grow into obese adults. Doctors stress that children should be taught good habits when it comes to diet and exercise.