Katie Couric's Notebook: Obesity

Katie's on assignment.

Here's the skinny on health care in America: We are simply too fat and it's costing us a fortune in medical bills.

Despite all those fad diets and fat free products in the grocery store aisles, obesity has increased by 37 percent since 1998. Along with the love handles and muffin tops come a smorgasbord of problems - including diabetes and heart disease.

A new study published in the journal Health Affairs found that obese people pay an average of $1,400 more per year in health care costs, a total of $147 billion annually.

The head of the group behind the report sent a wake-up call to Congress, saying that unless the growing problem of obesity is addressed, America will be unable to contain its health spending.

Experts say essentials like proper diet and exercise need to be at the core of any health policy lawmakers consider.

The only way to tighten our belts - is to tighten our bellies.

I'm Kelly Wallace, CBS News.