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Kim Jong Un has been losing weight, and now we have an idea of just how much.
South Korea's spy agency believes Kim has lost as much as 44 pounds.
Kim's weight is of interest to intelligence agencies because it indicates his government's health.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has lost a lot of weight, possibly more than 40 pounds, according to South Korea's spy agency.
The National Intelligence Service believes Kim has lost 10 to 20 kilograms (22 to 44 pounds), a South Korean lawmaker briefed by the agency told reporters Thursday, Bloomberg reported.
The intelligence agency said in November that Kim weighed just over 300 pounds. When the young leader took power about a decade ago, it estimated that he weighed just under 200 pounds.
Kim is said to be about 5 feet 7 inches tall, so at more than 300 pounds, the North Korean leader, who is said to be in his mid-30s, would be considered severely obese and at risk for a variety of health problems. The risk is higher given that he is known to chain-smoke and drink heavily, not to mention the high stress of running a government facing significant international pressure for its illegal weapons programs and human-rights abuses.
In the 2019 book "The Great Successor: The Secret Rise and Rule of Kim Jong Un," Anna Fifield, a seasoned reporter and North Korea expert, described the young leader as looking "like a heart attack waiting to happen."
But after a decade of substantial weight gain, his weight now appears to be dropping.
An NK News analysis said in June that Kim appeared to be losing weight. In photos, his face looked smaller, his clothes fit looser, and he was clearly able to cinch his $12,000 Portofino Automatic watch made by IWC Schaffhausen much tighter on his wrist.
A few weeks later, North Korean state media reported that some in North Korea were concerned about Kim's weight loss.
"Seeing respected general secretary (Kim Jong Un) looking emaciated breaks our people's heart so much," a Pyongyang resident said during a Korean Central Television broadcast, Reuters reported. "Everyone is saying their tears welled up."
While it is possible that a noticeably slimmer Kim could be the result of an illness, the South Korean lawmaker who discussed the intelligence community's view of the situation said there did not appear to be any health abnormalities, Bloomberg reported.
Specifically, there is nothing strange about how he walks, and he has not stopped holding "hours-long meetings," the lawmaker said.
Kim's health, his weight included, gets a lot of scrutiny from the intelligence community because it offers insight into the health and stability of the North Korean government, especially considering the uncertainty surrounding succession if its third leader dies young.
"Succession is very unclear if something were to happen to Kim Jong Un," Sue Mi Terry, a North Korea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, previously told Insider. "We know he's unhealthy. So we need to care" about his weight gain, loss, and overall health.
Terry said leadership health was probably "one of the most important indicators" of stability. For North Korea, she said, "Kim Jong Un's health is the biggest wild card."
Read the original article on Business Insider