North Korean regime founder Kim Il-sung was hale and hearty until he was felled by a sudden heart attack at 82, but his son Jong-il looks on his last legs although he only turns 70 this week, and doctors blame bad habits.
Doctors point to the different environments the two men grew up in and the self-control they exercised. Kim senior underwent military training in Manchuria in his youth and continued to enjoy sports. Despite obesity, physical exercise delayed the onset of chronic diseases.
But Kim Jong-il has been drinking, smoking and eating immoderately since his cosseted childhood, and as a result he is obese and his muscle mass has dwindled, leading to diabetes.
Diabetes is mainly caused by a calorie surplus in the body that is not burned off through exercise. If he had drastically changed his lifestyle once he was diagnosed with diabetes, Kim Jong-il could have minimized the complications, but he did not.
Diabetes led to chronic kidney failure, which in turn led to a stroke. Today he looks old and feeble, probably because diabetes has sapped his energy and sped up ageing.