A YOUNG man suffering with a rare genetic condition that means he finds it difficult to stop eating is on a mission to lose weight.
Steven Percival, aged 23, has Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) which leaves him permanently hungry and has led to his serious weight gain.
But Steven is determined to shed the pounds this year with the help of Bolton Lads and Girls Club.
Jodie Power, the club’s sports co-ordinator, has drawn up a fitness and healthy eating regime for Steven, who will follow it over the coming months.
Steven, who lives in Farnworth with his parents, said: “I am trying really hard to lose weight. I’m going to the gym three times a week.
“I would like to lose as much as I can because it would make things easier for me. I’m also going to eat a healthy diet as well.”
PWS is a genetic condition which affects the hypothalamus in the brain and thus the regulation of many important hormones in the body.
Symptoms and side-effects include constant desire to eat, dangerous weight gain, reduced muscle tone, learning difficulties and behavioural problems.
While PWS is not life-threatening, the compulsive eating can result in weight gain.
The condition affects about one in every 15,000 children born in England.
Steven was diagnosed as a baby, says his mum Lyn Percival, who is working with Bolton Lads and GIrls Club to improve her son’s health.
She said: “He was very difficult to bottle feed, so we had some tests.
“It’s very serious and we’re hoping that with the help of an outsider we can help him lose weight.”
Steven got involved with the club last year when he took part in the national citizen’s service programme and enjoyed many of the physical activities, such as climbing.
Susan Passmore, from Prader-Willi Syndrome Association UK, said: “Individuals with PWS need life-long support and face a daily battle against the constant desire for food.
“We are delighted to learn that Steven is engaged in such an environment.
“We firmly believe that everyone with PWS has a right to a healthy, full and productive life and this is such a positive step for Steven and his family.”