When Jonathan McCullum left last summer to spend a school year as an exchange student in Egypt, little did he knew that he'd also undergo an extreme weight loss / starvation diet too!
Jonathan McCullum was in perfect health at 70kg (154 lb) when he left last summer to spend the school year as an exchange student in Egypt.
But when he returned home to Maine just four months later, the 1.75-metre teenager weighed a mere 44kg (97 lb) and was so weak that he struggled to carry his baggage or climb a flight of stairs. Doctors said he was at risk for a heart attack.
McCullum says he was denied sufficient food while staying with a family of Coptic Christians, who fast for more than 200 days a year, a regimen unmatched by other Christians.
The host family had a different take on what happened:
The host father, Shaker Hanna, rejected McCullum's story as "a lie," suggesting that he made it up because his parents were hoping to recover some of the money they paid for his stay as compensation.
"The truth is, the boy we hosted for nearly six months was eating for an hour and a half at every meal. The amount of food he ate at each meal was equal to six people," Hanna said.