Battle of the bulge: Binge drinking & eating leaves N. Korean leader overweight – report

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un © Damir Sagolj
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has weight issues according to South Korea’s spy agency, which states that he has put on around 40 kilos since becoming the country’s head of state in 2012. Paranoia and insomnia are believed to be the causes of his health problems.

Kim has never been noted for his slender figure, but he has been piling on the pounds over the last four years. A South Korean National Intelligence Service (NIS) report to a parliamentary committee revealed that the leader is suffering from insomnia and paranoia, which are driving him to eat and drink more and more. 

"He keeps a close tab on any potential threats to his power, including the military, and he is obsessed with ensuring his personal safety,” Lee Cheol-Woo told journalists after the NIS briefing for lawmakers, AFP reported. 

Lee mentioned that Kim’s weight was around 90 kilograms when he took over from his father, but by 2014, he had tipped the scales at 120 kilos. This year, he is already weighing in at 130 kilos. 

"Because of his habitual binge eating and drinking, he is likely to develop adult diseases," Lee said, citing the report compiled by the NIS, which also mentioned that Kim was suffering from insomnia. 

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Kim disappeared from public life briefly in 2014, with rumors that he was suffering from gout or diabetes. However, an official from Pyongyang said that the country’s leader had actually injured his knee while taking part in a military drill. 

"He injured his ankle and knee around late August or early September while drilling because he is overweight. He limped around in the beginning but the injury worsened," said the source, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity.

"He ordered all the generals to take part in drills and he took part, too. They were crawling and running and rolling around, and he pulled a tendon."

Kim’s father Kim Jong-Il and grandfather Kim Il-Sung both suffered from obesity, while like Kim, they also smoked. Kim’s father and grandfather both died of heart attacks. 

The NIS was able to confirm that Kim’s aunt Kim Kyong-Hui is still alive, despite her fall from grace after her husband (Kim’s uncle) was purged and executed in 2013 on charges of treason and corruption. 

"She fell into alcoholism after the execution of her husband, but she is now under special care in Pyongyang's suburbs," Lee said