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English Teenager Thrives on Diet of Jam Sandwiches, Chocolate Cake

Posted - Jun. 23, 2004 at 6:20 a.m.



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London (dpa) - A 15-year-old English schoolboy, who only varies a life-long diet of jam sandwiches to eat a breakfast of chocolate-coated cereal or an occasional slice of chocolate cake, is in excellent health to the astonishment of the British medical profession, the Times reported Wednesday. Craig Flatman from the eastern English county of Suffolk says he "never gets bored" with his staple food and that when he is tempted to try something more wholesome he gets sick. His parents say he has never been seriously ill, apart from childhood maladies such as chickenpox, and his teeth have never needed a filling. Craig's parents hit upon his unusual diet when he was four, after he gagged on all other solid food. He is now 1.84 metres tall and weighs in at a healthy 69 kilos. "Jam Boy" - his school nickname - does not eat meat, fish, fresh fruit or vegetables in any form. Liquid refreshment takes the form of two pints of semi-skimmed milk a day. Concerted attempts by medical experts have failed to make any impact on his jam habit. Amanda Wynne of the British Dietetic Association expressed her amazement to the Times. "He does not appear to have an adequate iron intake, which is needed for healthy red blood cells. Lack of fruit and vegetables is also a problem. These provide vitamins, minerals and fibre, which are anti-oxidants and reduce the risk of cancer, heart attacks and so on," she said. Doctors attribute Craig's bizarre habits to choking on solid foods as a baby. His mother Almira never has to answer the daily "What's for supper, mum?" question or confront the standard groans of teenage disapproval. But there is a downside. Sister Amy, 13, has been a vegetarian since Britain's foot-and-mouth crisis three years ago, and family meals out are a complicated affair. Restaurants have to be able to cater to the parents' standard tastes, as well as Amy's vegetarianism. They also have to turn a blind eye to the homemade jam sandwiches Craig takes along.

Copyright 2004 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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