Houston Mayor Annise Parker is challenging the city to lose one million pounds in 2014. She's teamed up with the group Shape Up Houston to encourage local employers to get their workers more involved in better eating habits and exercise.

Obesity is not a vanity issue, its a health and economics issue,” says Shape Up Houston's Lan Bentsen. “Obesity is the gateway to heart disease, strokes, cancer and diabetes, this is a big deal.”

“The Texas Comptroller is really concerned about it, she says it was a $5 billion issue ten years ago, now its a $10 billion issue, and its headed to a $32 billion issue if we don't address it,” he tells KTRH News.

Officials are hoping to sign up 50,000 Houstonians with a modest goal of losing 20 pounds this year.

The program is free online. Those who join can simply enter the foods they eat, when they exercise and how many pounds they lose.

“What we're looking for is not the '30 pounds in 30 days' go to the reunion,” says Bentsen. “We want people to change their lifestyle, eat healthier, be more mindful and drink more water.”