Kim Jong-un weight loss photo: How did the dictator lose weight?

IMAGES of a slimmed-down Kim Jong-un have emerged after it was feared he had ballooned to more than 22 stone.

The North Korean leader appears to have undergone a dramatic weight loss, sparking conversation around the world.

How did Kim Jong-un lose weight?

Known as a heavy smoker, Kim has long been obese, with his weight appearing to increase steadily in recent years.

South Korea’s national intelligence unit said it believed he hit 22 stone last year after gaining around a stone a YEAR since coming to power in 2011.

Kim has a legendary appetite, apparently gorging himself on Swiss cheese, caviar and lobster while drinking multiple bottles of wine in a night.

But he looked noticeably less overweight in media images published by Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency and on state television in June 2021.

It's not clear how the 37-year-old lost weight, but analysts say Pyongyang is using Kim's appearance as a way to glorify him by portraying him as a "devoted, hardworking" leader as the country struggles to tackle its food crisis.

"The message Pyongyang is sending is that Kim is a leader who works very hard for his people even to a degree he skips meals and loses weight," defector-turned-researcher Ahn Chan-il told AFP.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies, pointed out it was unlikely his recent weight loss was a symptom of acute ill health, as he had attended several public events.

"No one can really know why he lost weight," he said. "What's clear is the regime wants the world to think that its people love care for their leader, to a point where they'd cry over his thinner appearance."

What was said on North Korean TV?

State TV ran a highly unusual story about his new trimmed-down look – even though any discussion of his health and personal life has always been off-limits.

KCTV aired a clip of an unnamed citizen claiming everyone in the country was "heartbroken" by his "emaciated" condition.

"Seeing our respected general secretary looking emaciated breaks our people's hearts the most," the man said.

"Everyone is talking about how their tears welled up immediately."

What health issues does Kim Jong-un have?

It was suggested back in 2009 that Kim was diabetic and suffered from hypertension.

In 2014, he did not appear in public for six weeks between September and October, with state media reporting he was suffering from an "uncomfortable physical condition".

He was using a walking stick when he reappeared.

Global speculation about Kim's health flared in 2020 after he missed the commemoration of the birthday of his late grandfather, and was absent from public view for about 20 days.

Rumors swirled that he was critically ill or even dead.

Kim's father Kim Jong-il and grandfather Kim Il-sung were obese and heavy smokers. Both died of heart attacks.

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