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Weighing the Risks

Obesity is the second-leading cause of preventable deaths in this country, according to a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine. The government now says that 34 percent of Americans are clinically obese - at least a third of their weight is fat.

Being overweight is a nationwide problem and a national obsession. Every year millions of Americans go on diets. Some of them lose weight permanently; most, however, do not.

48 Hours takes a probing look at this issue, focusing on several people trying to slim down, and on some new dieting strategies - including a controversial surgery that literally shrinks the stomach.

Shrink Stomach, Lose Weight? Correspondent Bill Lagattuta reports on gastric bypass surgery, which reduces the size of the stomach and, according to its proponents, leads to remarkable weight loss. Meet several women who have had the surgery. How did it affect them? Did they lose weight?

Is Gastric Bypass Necessary? Despite its popularity, gastric bypass surgery has been criticized. Some experts say that the procedure is unnecessary and can lead to dangerous complications.

The Caveman Diet Correspondent Peter Van Sant reports on Ray Audette, who believes that the key to weight loss is eating like a caveman. Audette advocates eating only those foods that our hunter/gatherer ancestors once consumed: meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries.

The Magic Bullet Correspondent Susan Spencer interviews two women with very different views on weight: Glenda Schindler, an obese woman who is trying to lose weight by taking Xenical, one of the latest diet drugs; and Sandee Sabo, who has had her fill of diets, and argues that fat people should simply accept themselves.

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