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health as it happens

North Korean residents "heartbroken" over Kim Jong-un's weight loss

"Giant Kim Jong Un" by tj013579 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

North Koreans are worried for leader Kim Jong-un, who seems to have lost a considerable amount of weight. State media quoted a resident who commented on Kim's "emaciated looks" in a rare acknowledgement of speculations about his weight loss. Some experts say that the comments are an attempt to boost support for Kim's efforts to remedy the economic hardships caused by the pandemic.

"Our people's hearts ached most when we saw (Kim's) emaciated looks," North Korean state TV cited an unidentified male resident wearing a straw hat as saying on Friday. "Everyone says their tears are welling up in their eyes naturally.

via USA Today

The worry seems to stem from recent state media photos that show a slimmer Kim, who is around 5'8" and roughly 308lbs. Residents speculate that he might have lost anywhere from 22 to 44 pounds. Analysts in Seoul say Kim may have gone on a diet to improve his health (which is under intense scrutiny, as he hasn't publicly appointed a successor in the event of his death).

Seeing as his predecessors (father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung) both died of heart-related problems, it wouldn't be surprising if the heavy-drinking, heavy-smoking world leader took steps to improve his own health.

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