CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Obesity. It's a big problem for many people in South Texas and Corpus Christi is no exception.
For most of his life, Joaquin “Jack” Rodriguez found himself overweight.
"I was always a heavy kid,” he told us recently as he jogged along Ocean Drive.
Jack was a heavy adult until he finally tipped the scales at 264 pounds.
"Poor eating habits and you know a lack of exercise,” Jack said as to some of the reasons why he gained so much weight.
"Eating double meat double cheeseburgers and whole pizzas,” Jack remembered.
When the man he idolizes, his grandfather, had triple bypass surgery, Jack finally said enough was enough, and decided to make a change for the better.
When asked what made him want to change, he told us, “My daughters, my kids, being there for them.”
One in every three residents in the city of Corpus Christi is considered obese, but we wanted to know, what is the city doing to help people change their habits and get healthier?
Ever since Men's Health magazine dubbed Corpus Christi the fattest city in America, city officials have been rolling out programs designed to trim our waistlines.
In 2020, city manager Peter Zanoni created “Safe Fun Fit at the Bayfront” to get people biking, walking, jogging or running on Shoreline.
Even so, the city's obesity rate still stands at around 33%. But it's not just about being more active. Eating unhealthy foods can be a hard habit to break.
"We unfortunately live in an entire culture of everything is supersized and everything is fast and full of fat and carbs and preservatives,” Dr. Autumn Morales, an internal medicine doctor at CHRISTUS Family Medicine-Kingsville told us.
All that can lead to major health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea; and that’s just to name a few.
“There is definitely a genetic predisposition but just because a family has that predisposition, doesn't mean an individual is going to be obese,” Dr. Autumn Morales added.
The city rolled out another effort to get people moving this year.
"I really saw the need,” Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo told us. She initiated a program for 5K runs around the city. It’s the latest incentive to get Corpus Christi residents out of the house and away from all those fatty foods.
"A way to encourage and empower people to get out and get some exercise into their day,” the Mayor said.
Plenty of people are taking part, but will the mayor’s monthly runs along with the city manager’s health and fitness initiatives work?
Only time will tell.
"Unfortunately, obesity doesn't go away unless someone really wants to change,” Dr. Morales said.
As for Jack, he lost 100 pounds in just one year.
"The Corpus Christi Triathalon Club has really helped me a great deal to continue on and really push myself to become a better athlete and a better person,” Jack says.
The hardest part?
“I would say the hardest part is just putting on your shoes and getting out there and then once you're out there and after your workout, you feel 10 times better.”
As always, if you want to change your diet or exercise plans, you should consult with your doctor.
As for Jack, he hopes his story will inspire others that anyone can do it, adding, “You can’t do it alone.”