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17-Month-Old Is Just Big For His Age: 68 Pounds

Tue., Aug. 13, 1996, midnight

To call Zack Strenkert a big kid is an understatement. He looks like a miniature sumo wrestler, a puffy pink cumulus cloud of flesh.

At 17 months old, Zack weighs nearly 68 pounds, as much as an 8- or 9-year-old. He’s 3 feet tall and nearly as big around. His T-shirts are size 14. His ankles won’t fit into shoes, so he goes barefoot. On hot days, he wears nothing but a diaper, in the largest adult size. Zack weighed 10 pounds, 12 ounces when he was born by Caesarean section.

“There are a lot of chubby kids around,” said Dr. Mary Horlick, a pediatric endocrinologist in New York City. “But he’s quite unusual.”

Zack’s regular pediatrician said the boy just needed to be put on a diet. Fearing her son had a rare disease instead, Laurie Strenkert, 29, took Zack to Horlick, a specialist. But so far, there’s no evidence of a glandular disorder. Tests for thyroid problems, diabetes and other disorders all were negative.

The doctor recommended a diet.

“He’s never been a big eater,” Laurie Strenkert said. “He’ll have a quarter-cup of cereal for breakfast, crackers for a snack, a half a sandwich for lunch.”

“We may never find out why he’s so big,” Laurie Strenkert said. ” I just want to know he’s all right, he’s healthy. I love him just the way he is.”


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