Metro Woman Works Hard to Fight Obesity

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GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- Obesity is the number one cause of preventable deaths in America. But a Grandview woman says she's determined to break the cycle of obesity for the sake of her children.

Rhea Mahmood is 33 years old. She went on the Dr. Oz Show to get help which she now calls a big mistake. It did make her determined to find real help and to set an example for her 10-year-old daughter.

Mahmood weighed 472 pounds when she went on the show hoping to find help. She says she has been overweight for as long as she can remember.

"It didn't matter what three meals were as long as you got to eat three times a day," Mahmood said.

Rhea's mother admits family eating habits weren't always the best.

"It's hard giving up a lifetime of mash potatoes and gravy, it really is," said Rhea's mom Karen Vaughn. "I know we have to."

Mahmood doesn't want to pass obesity on to her children, 10-year-old Maleeha and her one-year-old son Cesar.

"I don't ever want my daughter to go through what I've gone through," Mahmood said.

A woman who also appeared on the Dr. Oz show referred Mahmood to a free program at Truman Medical Center.

There she met Dr. Rachel Otto. She is the first doctor who ever told her not to start exercising on her own.

"She was the first one that said, 'absolutely not, we need to make sure that you're healthy, that you're not going to get on this treadmill and have a heart attack,'" she said.

Mahmood has high blood pressure and a family history of heart disease. To help her break her bad  habits, Dr. Otto put her in touch with a personal trainer. Trainer Alyssa Stroud pushes Mahmood twice a week for 90 minutes to burn calories.

She and her daughter now walk on the treadmill. She could only walk for 10 minutes when she began. Now, she goes 20 minutes.

"I feel better, I have more energy," she said.

The family has also changed their diet. The doctor and personal trainer both tell Mahmood to ignore the high fat snacks and to also read food labels.

So far, she has lost 22 pounds. That's 22 pounds less than when she appeared on Dr. Oz three months ago. Mahmood says she will be happy when she can fit in a chair.

"People take their kids to the circus, I can't do that," she said. "People take their kids to Worlds of Fun, ride the rides with them, I can't do that."

Obesity in children is also on the rise. Experts say kids need an hour of physical play every day to stay healthy.

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