The father of an 8-year-old boy who eats nothing but dirty shoes and sandals is worried about his son’s health and seeking donations for medical treatment to cure him. After neighbors brought the existence of the shoe-eating boy to the attention of staff at the TV program Mun Plak Dee Na, they went to Hao village in Chiang Mai province on November 10 to investigate for themselves. There, they met K. Kao (he declined to disclose his surname) and his son Tinoy. K. Kao told them that his son had launched into strange diets at the age of two – before shoes, he apparently used to enjoy eating paper. “I’m anxious about his health but I can’t do anything because I don’t have any money,” K. Kao said. “I hope some kind person will help him.” As he spoke, Tinoy helped himself to a shoe, shocking the TV crew, who immediately offered him various snacks instead. But the boy continued munching on the shoe, oblivious to any of their tasty treats. The boy’s teacher, K. Ratchanee Yordsiri, said that Tinoy likes to eat his friends’ flip-flops. “At first I didn’t believe it; I suspected a dog had chewed on the rubber sandal, but when I saw Tinoy biting into it, I was speechless.” Maliwan Boonma, a doctor from Amphur Mae Jam Hospital, said that Tinoy’s behavior is caused by a disease known as Pica. Children suffering from this disease are compulsive eaters of non-food items. “I have seen many children with this problem eat soil, plastic, even matchsticks. This chronic behavior may disappear in his teenage years, but his physical and mental health may be affected. He is visibly pale and skinny, and he suffers from bloody stools. He needs to improve his eating habits as quickly as possible.”
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