Obesity's Ground Zero

Houston is the fattest city in what is becoming an increasingly fat country.

In Houston, nearly everything is big, from big buildings to big houses. Houston has also become the ground zero of the obesity crisis in America.

And that's where CBS News correspondent Mika Brzezinski begins a road tour looking at the obesity health crisis in America.

Twenty years ago, only a few states had residents with weight problems. But today, 41 states report dangerous levels of obesity.

A CBS News poll shows 93 percent of Americans believe obesity is a serious public health problem, and 35 percent believe they are overweight.

"You see it in schools. You see it in restaurants, and in stores," says Sonia Deleon, a Houston parent. "Everywhere you look, you see overweight children nowadays."

And it's not just kids. It's everyone.

"The populations who are becoming obese are increasing, and it almost seems like there is no end in sight," says Dr. Samuel Klein, with the Washington University School of Medicine.

Why is obesity a problem? Dr. Klein says it's very simple: fat kills. "It causes diabetes, bad lipids, high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, cancer, liver disease, lung disease," he notes.

And it's no secret how we got that way. Food that's fast, easy — and hard to resist — is a big part of our diet.

"They want junk food," Sarah says.

How often do they get it? "A lot. Let's just put it that way," Sarah adds.


Smart Snacking



And no where is the temptation to eat junk great than on the road. No one knows that better than truckers.

Randy Hale has been a trucker for about two years, and started putting on the pounds right from the start. In about four months, he gained twenty pounds, he says. "I'm having catfish, potatoes, green beans, and macaroni and cheese," says trucker Randy Hale.

This is why Barry Pawelek, a former trucker himself, has launched a national health tour aimed at truckers.

After a heart attack ended Barry's career, he started a campaign for healthier truckers.

"We can't make them change," Barry acknowledges. "I can't say 'eat this.' I want them to make the change and I think they will do that."

As for Randy, he's trying to eat healthier and change his diet, but like most of us, he's got an excuse.

"I was a good boy last night so I cheated a little bit today."
  • Melissa McNamara

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