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Toddler Has to Eat Hourly to Stay Healthy

The Short of It

Many parents feel like their kids have to eat every hour, but for one Georgia toddler, it's actually a medical condition.

The Lowdown

Owen Torti, who is 23 months old, suffers from LCHAD (Long-chain 3-hydroxy acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase), an exceedingly rare genetic metabolic disorder that prohibits his body from breaking down fatty acids into energy. That means he must eat every hour so his body doesn't start to break down his muscles for energy. This in turn can cause damage to the little boy's organs.

His mom explains how her son's condition affects his daily life in a video on YouTube: "He wants to act like a normal 2-year-old, and he wants to go and play and run around as long as the other 2-year-olds. Unfortunately, we have to have him sit down and take little breaks. ... He doesn't know how to pace himself."

Because Owen needs to eat almost constantly, he doesn't exactly enjoy food, and he has developed many aversions, like to solid food. But the toddler's parents hope he will grow into his condition and learn how to properly manage it so he can have a normal life.

The Upshot

Hearing about Owen's condition honestly made me feel guilty for ever complaining about my kids' struggles with eating. All three of them are very picky, and it can be a challenge to prepare a meal they will eat. Sometimes I get so frustrated I just want to give up! But I see how trivial our issues with food are compared to this little guy's. Here's wishing Owen the bright and happy future he so deserves.

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