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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Ryan Seacrest & Jamie Oliver Wage War on Obesity

Aired March 28, 2010 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, Ryan Seacrest and superstar chef Jamie Oliver taking aim at the unhealthiest city in America.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION," COURTESY ABC)

JAMIE OLIVER: I'm here to start a revolution -- a food revolution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Waging a war on fat, hoping to shape up an entire town a kid at a time, like it or not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION," COURTESY ABC)

OLIVER: How's your pizza for breakfast?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Ryan knows what he's talking about. He was a fatty.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN SEACREST: I wouldn't say I was obese, but I was embarrassed as...

KING: Really?

SEACREST: -- as a teenager.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Ryan Seacrest is here. He's executive producer of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution".

And the guy in the show's title -- the man on the front lines of the food revolution -- Jamie Oliver, joining us from New York. He, of course, is the superstar chef and best-selling cookbook author.

The two-hour premiere of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" airs Friday, tomorrow night, on ABC.

How did this come about, Ryan?

SEACREST: Two reasons.

One, we know that childhood obesity is a major issue in our country.

And number two, superstar there, Jamie Oliver. He's -- he's done this in the U.K. He's gotten on the frontlines of the U.K. school system and he's recognized there was a real problem in those cafeterias. And he made significant change.

KING: Who contacted who?

SEACREST: I think what, you know...

KING: Or is it whom contacted whom?

SEACREST: I think, Jamie, this was sort of the perfect timing. You had done this in England, and you were looking to do something in the United States, but were looking for the right opportunity. Isn't that the way it sort of came out?

OLIVER: Yes. We went through a friend-of-a-friend, and I wrote to Ryan. I didn't know Ryan before then; I just knew him as someone that the country loved and trusted.

So I wrote to him and told him what I dreamed to happen.

Look -- Ryan, the foodie -- he's got massive love of course for this own country. And he was back within a couple of days. "Give me the stuff."

So I gave him the stuff that I'd done before. And I think -- correct me if I'm wrong, Ryan -- you got even more passionate about seeing it. Actually, making changes -- little steps, but steps in the right direction -- causing a fuss, telling a story; telling the truth. And really trying to get everyone. Everyone. Not just schools. Everyone to make a difference.

KING: Ryan, why Huntington, West Virginia? This is the pilot program, sort of.

SEACREST: The series opens up in Huntington, West Virginia. The idea behind this is to create a national movement.

We started in Huntington, West Virginia because it got a bad rap. It was on the list and called, "The Unhealthiest Town in the Unhealthiest Region of America." And so we figured --

KING: That's Appalachia?

SEACREST: Yes. That area -- the tri-state area. So we figured, "Let's start there," and hopefully create a legacy of change and improvement. Not just with the schools, but also with the great people there.

And I could tell you -- I mean, Jamie did some incredible work on the ground. And initially, even those who were almost opposed to this initiative really began to turn, and now become almost ambassadors to our program.

KING: "Opposed," meaning people in Huntington who felt embarrassed, maybe?

SEACREST: I just think that, "Who's this guy? What's this TV show about?" And it truly is bigger than a TV show.

KING: A lot of Jamie's food revolution efforts focused on that elementary school in Huntington. Check out the kind of challenge he found himself facing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION," COURTESY ABC)

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: Good morning.

SEACREST: So what are they having here then, darling?

UNIDENTIFIED PARTICIPANT: That's a pizza. Then there's fruit and cereal a la carte.

SEACREST: Right. Wow. This is where it's at, guys. This is the future of America. Sitting here having pizza for breakfast.

OLIVER: I walk into this school and I'm a tiny bit nervous. I want to be the polite English guy. But the first thing I see is pizza for breakfast.

How's your pizza for breakfast?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: All right, Jamie, were you ticked about pizza for breakfast?

OLIVER: Well, you know, it's -- I think that, for -- for starters, Huntington had been under the spotlight for a number of years. So, actually, as far as normal school food is concerned in the whole of the United States, actually it's probably up there as some of the best.

Nonetheless, fast food, you know, highly processed foods and pizza for breakfast were -- was just a number of things. You know, even -- even the milk wasn't virginal. You know, the milk that you saw there has nearly as much sugar as a -- as a tin of soda. And that gets poured on some cereal which has got loads of colorings and flavorings and sugar in it, as well. And then they've got the pizza next to that.

And it just sort of seemed just an avalanche of corn dogs -- mo -- mobile, portable food, you know, corndogs, nuggets, burgers, pizza.

And it just sort of felt to me that if the nutritional standards were up to scratch, you know, there'd be a lot more home-cooked food happening every day.

KING: I've talked to Bill Clinton a lot about this, who's kind of wild on this subject, because he was a fat kid. And you remember when he came into office first, he'd stop at McDonalds every day while he jogged.

Of course, Michele Obama is leading a movement.

Were you a fat kid?

SEACREST: I was, actually.

KING: Yes?

SEACREST: You know, I wouldn't say I was obese, but I was embarrassed as...

KING: Really?

SEACREST: -- as a teenager. Yes, I was in...

KING: I mean did you eat stuff like that in school?

OLIVER: I -- yes, I did. I -- you know, my mother sometimes would pack a lunch and then I would buy. And we'd have pizza squares and we'd have sloppy joes and we'd have chicken nuggets and we'd have burritos and chimichangas. And when you think about all of that throughout the course of a week, after time, it adds up and it has an affect on someone's body. I mean that -- it's proven that if you eat like that over a long period of time, it can kill you. It's just not good for you.

I think President Clinton has said the same thing. I mean, if he had eaten better as a child, he has said that he wouldn't have the problems he has now with his heart.

KING: Jamie, we don't associate -- when we hear "famous chef," we don't associate that with health foods. We associate -- we associate it with sauces and prime French foods and all of that.

OLIVER: Yes. Well, you know, it's...

KING: What got you into health?

OLIVER: I don't know. I think -- well, to be honest, I mean my -- I mean I kind of get drummed in with health, but my approach is quite mixed. I mean, you know, a lot of restaurant food can be just as bad if you have it every day as fast food every day.

I think, you know, for -- for me, this is a -- a dark time in American nutrition. It's a stressful time with regards to the health reform, in general. And I think this is the first generation where kids are expected to live a shorter life than their parents. Now we all know that. We've...

KING: Yes.

OLIVER: You know, Harvard has proven that if you eat proper food, you know, you're 7 to 10 percent more intelligent and able to learn at school. I'm sure the teachers of America would appreciate that.

But, you know, I think -- you know, at the very basis of stuff, you know, with mom and dads working harder than ever, kids go to school 180 days of the year from the age of four to 16 or 18. And what they eat at school counts. What they eat at school matters.

What they eat at school sets tastes, standards, habits for a lifetime.

And -- and it's not just what they eat at school. It's -- I -- I truly believe, personally, that an environment of food and food education in elementary school should be compulsory. And it really needs to happen and -- and also supported and, also, learning to cook just 10 meals to save your life in every high school in the country is important for the next 10 years.

KING: Well...

OLIVER: Why?

Because health determines that it needs to happen. And I think -- here's the thing. When you can't cook basic things, you have no choices. When you're hit with a recession and you can't cook, you have no choices. And if you can cook, it doesn't matter if you've got $5, $10, $20 or $100, you have choices.

KING: Yes. Well said.

We'll be right back.

And when we come back, a mom and her stepson trying to revolutionize their own diets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION," COURTESY ABC)

OLIVER: Here's your breakfast. It is those bloody corndogs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Wow. And Jamie was dumping the food on the table. It was like stunning.

OLIVER: You tell me how you feel looking at this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yuck. It's gross.

OLIVER: I need you to know that this is going to kill your children early. You know, we're talking about 10, 13, 14 years off their life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Joining us now from the Huntington Kitchen -- that's a kitchen built by Ryan and Jamie for this production -- Stacie Edwards and her stepson, Justin. Their story is featured on Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution," which premieres tomorrow night on ABC.

Stacie, why did -- why did you agree to get involved with this?

STACIE EDWARDS, FEATURED ON "FOOD REVOLUTION": Well, I knew our family needed help. So I just said, what better time to start than now?

KING: What was, Jamie, your first reaction, Jamie, when you ran into what the Edwards' situation was?

OLIVER: It was a struggling mom trying to look after the family. She was a great mother. You know, I immediately loved her. You know, she's a great character.

But Stacie and Stacie's story is common around the whole of America -- and England, you know. And I think what we've got is -- you know, when you've got families -- you know, men or women -- that have gone through the three generations of non-cooks that happen now -- you know, and that means they weren't taught to cook at home and they weren't taught to cook at school and then they have families.

And what are they supposed to do?

I mean I think, you know, just food knowledge in general and the lack of food education over the last 30 or 40 years has really created times where, you know, Stacie just felt that the only options she had was the stuff that was made easy for her.

And, of course, as Stacie will tell you, I mean a lot of that was, you know, the pizzas and the corndogs and the stuff like that.

KING: Yes.

OLIVER: And after an -- after an amount of time, you know, it -- it catches up on you.

KING: Justin, what would you eat in a typical day?

Take me through a typical day, Justin.

You get up in the morning, what would you eat for breakfast?

JUSTIN EDWARDS, FEATURED ON "FOOD REVOLUTION": For breakfast, I'd like -- sometimes gravy and biscuits or bacon or eggs or something like that. And for lunch, sometimes it'd be corn dogs or I'd have like a bologna salad sandwich. And for dinner, sometimes it would be Hamburger Helper or chicken nuggets or corndogs.

KING: Did you ever say to yourself, I -- I'm overweight and I don't like this, I'd like to change this?

Did you ever think you were doing something hurting yourself?

J. EDWARDS: Yes. Like I knew I was hurting myself because I knew that this stuff wasn't good for me, but I was eating it anyway.

KING: Now, your -- Ryan, your purpose in here was to change them. The purpose of a revolution is change.

SEACREST: Yes. I think -- and I think that, initially, it's -- it's to get them information and training and -- and show them what they can do that's -- that's easy and affordable and practical. Because Jamie certainly doesn't tolerate -- or he doesn't promote zero-tolerance. You know, it's not like he says you can't have any of this.

What he really pushes for is using fresh foods and not having frozen and processed foods. And I -- you know, the great thing about this is that Justin wants to be a chef. He wants to learn more about cooking great food and having great meals. And, you know, this family is -- is a wonderful family that loves each other that was very brave to come on and share their story with us.

KING: Sure.

Stacie, do you think at all that you set a bad example, that you eat poorly?

S. EDWARDS: Yes, I eat very poorly. It was -- I -- what the kids ate, too. I ate the nuggets and the burgers and the pizza -- fast food.

KING: Oh. So you're changing now, too?

S. EDWARDS: Oh, yes. I've changed tremendously.

KING: This is quite a project. It all starts tomorrow night on ABC.

As we've said, Jamie got a school involved in his food revolution. It wasn't an easy sell with people who feed hundreds of kids a day.

We'll discuss that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION," COURTESY ABC)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chicken breast is the first ingredient, here.

OLIVER: Do you not question any of that stuff?

Look...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's wrong with that?

OLIVER: What's wrong with that?

What's right with that?

Would you eat that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. This stuff is good.

OLIVER: And that list of ingredients doesn't bother you in the slightest?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not in the slightest.

OLIVER: OK. Well, you know what, it doesn't bother me that adult eat it. What bothers me is that kids eat it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Ryan Seacrest wrote a blog exclusive for us about Michelle Obama's efforts to help kids get fit. Read it at CNN.com/LarryKing.

Joining us now from Huntington, West Virginia, Patrick O'Neal. He's the principal of the Central City Elementary School. His school is featured in Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution," which debuts tomorrow on ABC.

Also with us is Rebekah Farrell, a fifth grader at Central City; head school cook, Polly Midkiff; and school cooks, Millie Bailey (ph) and Alice Gue.

We'll start with the principal, Patrick O'Neal.

Did you object to this at first?

PATRICK O'NEAL, PRINCIPAL, CENTRAL CITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Pretty much, I -- I did. We -- we were given this at a principals' meeting about a show that was coming. And I was very hesitant about taking part in this because I didn't know what it was going to do to my cooks.

KING: Well how is it working out?

O'NEAL: Well, it's working out great. You know, when Jamie first came here, we -- we just didn't really know how to -- to take the -- take Jamie when he came in, because we really didn't know what the show was going to be about and -- other than, you know, just trying to make a change in our lunch program.

KING: Well, Polly Midkiff, you're the head school cook.

Did you resent this? POLLY MIDKIFF, HEAD COOK, CENTRAL CITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Yes, I did, at first. But after a couple of weeks, I adjusted to it and we get along just fine.

KING: And, Alice Gue, you are a school cook.

How did you feel at first?

How do you feel now?

ALICE GUE, COOK, CENTRAL CITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Actually, we're doing really well with it now. The kids are accepting it a lot better and we've made things a little easier for ourselves, doing the new recipes.

KING: And Rebekah, our fifth grader, I know about fifth graders.

Did you like this at first, Rebekah, truthfully?

REBEKAH FERRELL, STUDENT, CENTRAL CITY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Well, I thought it was going to be hard for the school at first, but I like it now.

KING: Jamie, when you -- you came -- you went to the school, what did you think they were doing and what are they doing now?

OLIVER: Well, I think the thing to remember is -- is already, Huntington had had a light shined on them because of the CDC report. And, really, the kitchens were very well-specced. The girls in general were very happy. And they were probably over delivering as to what you would call the normal school lunches in the whole of America.

That aside, I mean this -- the story we're telling, really, was about sort of changing what was coming into the kitchen in the first place.

So, you know, look, when -- when a -- when a foreigner comes in, when they've got a funny voice, that's one thing. But when anyone comes into any area in any country and wants to sort of change things, it is always problematic.

And, you know, Principal O'Neal was very generous to even let me in the school, to be frank. And, you know, it always has a massive impact on the ladies in the kitchen.

The first few weeks were tough. And -- and it wasn't really helped by some of the local press that was kind of making it look like I was demeaning the locals or the kind of -- the people of the area.

So it was a fairly hard two or three weeks. But, look, the -- the girls are really solid. I mean they're -- they run the kitchen -- the kitchen incredibly proficiently. My job was just to get the food coming in different. I didn't want the processed nuggets or, you know, I didn't want the pizza for breakfast. I didn't want, you know, the scrambled eggs that were already cooked that you'd reheat. I -- I wanted them to, you know, to be able to cook again. And -- and to do that, I had to go to their bosses and their bosses' bosses. And as you know, with lots of things in America, there's lots of red tape and lots of bureaucracy. But I mean, no, really, this whole project was supposed to be an experiment and one that told a story.

KING: Right.

Ryan, did you feel any hesitancy, I mean knowing that this Englishman was coming into Huntington, West Virginia to tell them what to do right?

SEACREST: Yes, because I'm familiar with that on one of the other shows.

KING: Sure.

SEACREST: I work with an Englishman who, you know, is relatively bossy on that "Idol" program.

KING: I've heard of him.

SEACREST: You've heard of Simon?

(LAUGHTER)

SEACREST: The -- the thing with -- with this television series, we knew from the get-go, was that it wasn't just going to be a television show. We knew that with ABC, they wanted to be part of this -- this entire movement.

And the other thing we knew was that we weren't quite sure what the outcome was going to be. And rarely do you get into a series or a project without knowing sort of what the outcome is going to be.

KING: True.

OLIVER: And, you know, a credit to this group that's sitting right there in Huntington, those ladies have a job to do. And they work long hours doing that job, like a lot of other cooks around the country.

But they were willing to at least listen, even if they disagreed at first, and -- and make a change. And I know that our principal there has lost a little bit of weight, I -- I noticed in his shot.

(LAUGHTER)

SEACREST: So perhaps you're applying some of this at home.

KING: Yes.

We'll ask him about that when we come back.

We'll go back to school right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION," COURTESY ABC)

OLIVER: The bad news is I think I didn't like what the kids ate today. When I saw breakfast, I had never seen kids being given pizza of any kind for breakfast before. I think, you know, to go from pizza to nuggets...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those things are set up on a -- a monthly nutrition analysis on the meals.

OLIVER: I don't think I'm here because I think the nutritional analysis is great. It's that kind of food that's killing America.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have processed food in England?

OLIVER: God, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

OLIVER: And it's killing England, too.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION," COURTESY ABC)

OLIVER: Well, it sets like concrete and mostly...

(CROSSTALK)

OLIVER: And they're like, you know, whisk it fast, whisk it fast, otherwise it will set real hard and you'll never get it out.

And I'm like, what is this stuff?

It tastes like starchy fluff with popped nuts in it. Absolutely disgusting.

I know it's only mashed potatoes, but when I start looking at mashed potato and then the nuggets, then the pizza, then the milk's got crap in it, the cereal's got crap in it -- all of those little things together pisses me off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with our group at the school and Ryan Seacrest and Jamie Oliver. Ryan, the exec producer; Jamie, the superstar chef. It's his "Food Revolution" that starts tomorrow night on ABC.

Rebekah Farrell, what -- what -- is there any food you ate every day at school you now don't eat?

FARRELL: I used to eat the spaghetti a lot when it was -- when the cooks made it. And when Jamie Oliver cooked it, he put mushrooms in it. And I'm not a big fan of mushrooms.

KING: So what -- what do you eat now? What's your favorite food now at school?

FARRELL: I like the beef-a-roni a lot.

KING: And -- and Polly, do you like cooking this better than you liked cooking what you used to cook?

MIDKIFF: I don't have a problem with it. I like what I did before, but this is a little more work. But I feel like it's healthier for everybody.

KING: Alice, how are -- how are the kids reacting in general?

GUE: A lot of them are still asking me if it's Jamie's food. And I think the only reason they did that was because of all the publicity. And if -- if it was just -- we just tell them that it's always been our food. And a lot of them, they're -- the kids that are going to eat will eat. It doesn't really matter. But a lot of them adjusted to it really well and especially the -- the pizzas.

KING: Patrick, have you seen -- is there a noticeable difference?

O'NEAL: I would say yes, there has been. But, you know, as Alice was saying, there's still a lot of resistance. And the kids are calling it, "Jamie's food."

Well, we started coming out with our own message. It's no longer, "Jamie's food." It's our food. It's Cabell County food. And we are implementing it into the other schools. We were at the start of it and now it's spread out through, I think, probably about 16, 17 or 18 schools now. And I just hope that they're seeing the success that we're having.

But because I guess here recently we've had a drop in our lunch counts, that we've also lost a half-time cook now. So instead of me having five cooks, we're down to four-and-a-half. So that's -- that makes it a little struggle.

KING: Do you notice, Patrick, any noticed improvement in test scores, alertness and the like?

O'NEAL: Well, you know, that's still yet to be determined because, you know, with -- with a lot of these students, you know, we -- we do daily testing. And we do what we call our trimester testing. So we're seeing some improvements on the scores. But yet our -- our big assessment is coming up here in May. So that will help us out to -- to really see if the more healthier food is impacting that area. But it's still a long...

KING: It certainly can't hurt.

O'NEAL: -- a long way to go.

KING: It certainly can't hurt.

Ryan, are you expecting other schools in other cities to come aboard?

SEACREST: Just like Patrick said, you know, we started with this one and it's already spread to 16. And we're -- we're still in the process of -- of doing that. And the lo -- you know, the local community there is embracing it. And they're actually in the process of spreading the message and the word and the revolution.

And since we had a little sneak peek of this show and since it's been talked about online, we've already had cities like New York and Atlanta and St. Louis say, we realize there's a problem. We're not quite sure what the solution is -- nor Rebekah, really.

I mean we -- we can't tell you exactly what to do, but we can certainly stir it up a little bit. So, yes, it's spreading -- which is great news.

KING: Jamie recruited everyone he could into his food army including the local clergy.

We're back with the man that calls Jamie a godsend right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PASTOR STEVE WILLIS, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH, KENOVA, WEST VIRGINIA: Just recently in 2008, the Center for Disease Control report came out. Huntington and our area came out as the most obese city in the most obese region in the most obese country in the world.

What, my friends, does that tell us about our culture? When we don't think anything about being the worst in the entire world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Joining us now from New York Pastor Steve Willis of the First Baptist Church in Kenova, West Virginia. And from Huntington, West Virginia, Marisa Clayton. She is a 17-year old high school senior, one of six young people that Jamie picked to be part of his "army" in this Food Revolution.

Pastor, how did you get involved?

WILLIS: Well, our church began this about a year ago before Jamie came to town. And we weren't making the progress that we needed to make. So I prayed with my wife. This is no exaggeration.

I prayed with my wife. I said, "You know, I can get people to exercise. But the nutritional aspect of this is beyond my pay grade." And the very next day, Jamie's production people called and said they were interested in coming to Huntington to help us out.

KING: And Marisa, what is your role, as one of six -- part of an "army?" MARISA CLAYTON, PART OF JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION "ARMY": Basically I'm just -- you know, I'm here to help. I'm trying to, you know, get this out into the city and just help this Food Revolution begin.

KING: Jamie, did the pastor have a big influence on all of this?

JAMIE OLIVER: Absolutely. I mean, look, my job, wherever I go, whatever I do, is to get -- you know, you can't make change, you can't learn what the problem is unless you dig yourself into a community. And the quickest way to do that was to go to Pastor Steve's community. His communion.

He was doing various sermons at the time, and you know, it was a very inspirational time for me because I was getting a bit of a hard time and I really needed to find an ally.

And of course, what everyone forgets is, you know, apart from all the other great work that Pastor Steve does, you know, ultimately he's the sharp edge of the knife because he has to bury the people that are dying. And this is not a pleasant thing for anyone.

KING: Yes.

OLIVER: Even for a man of God to do. But I mean you'd noticed, hadn't you, over the last sort of 5 or 10 years that the amount of people dying?

WILLIS: Especially in the wintertime, Larry. This is the main point that I want to make to pastors is gluttony is really the only one of the seven deadly sins that is widely accepted in the church. This is a moral issue, how we feed our children and how we feed ourselves.

Just sitting down and having a healthy meal with our families together -- God designed us to be healthy people so that we could love Him and love our neighbors. And we can't do that if we're not healthy.

KING: I've never really heard it put that way.

Pastor, I understand that Stacie Edwards and Justin, who's going to be back with us in the next segment, are in your church. Right?

WILLIS: Yes, they are. They're very active. In fact, I was just playing ball with Justin. Can't really tell you about the finale of the show, but when our Family Life Center that Jamie helped us out with, Justin's been involved. And he's learning how to play basketball with us. We're having a good time.

And Stacie's involved in a number of exercise programs at our church and doing some good cooking down there, as well.

KING: Jamie, who did you find -- why did you pick Marisa?

OLIVER: Look, Marisa is one of my gang. She's a lovely, sparky, intelligent young American girl. It was important for me that I got a handful of guys that represented, you know, the cross-section of the school, the city, the neighborhood. And I needed people that had issues with the problem out there.

The problem out there is that it's not just the people struggling. It's not just about obesity. OK? There's plenty of scrawny people out there that have got diabetes and bad health. It affects everyone.

And it's not just them. I mean as Marisa will tell you now, I mean, you know, she's been affected. She lost her father to obesity. And she lost her uncle. And you know -- and I think, you know, it's not just the people that have the problems that are hurt. It's the greater family out there.

KING: Yes. Marisa, you want to go to culinary school. Right?

CLAYTON: That is very true. I love to cook.

KING: What effect has Jamie had on you?

CLAYTON: Jamie has -- he's made a big change in my life. He has definitely made me look more positive towards things. I had my mom and my stepfather start, you know, going to a gym three times a week because I don't want them to become overweight.

You know, like you said, I lost my father. So, you know, Jamie's just been a positive influence on my life, completely.

KING: I got to say -- we'll be right back in a moment, Ryan and the group -- there is no negative to this.

WILLIS: Yes.

KING: Back with Stacie and Justin. They're coming back. And the progress they've made since joining this fight. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We got an interview with Jamie Oliver on our blog. See how he answers five questions at CNN.com/larryking.

We're joined once again with Stacie Edwards and her son, Justin -- stepson. This story, of course, is featured on "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" premiering tomorrow night.

Earlier we got some insights into Stacie and Justin's lives before Jamie Oliver. Our LARRY KING LIVE crews spent a day with them to check out some of the changes they've made since getting drafted into the Food Revolution.

Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUSTIN EDWARDS: I'm Justin Edwards. I'm 12. Since Jamie's been here, we started eating better, and I've lost about 20 pounds.

The changes that Jamie's been making me do to my diet is learning how to eat better. He has me working out and he has me cooking.

I used to eat all the time. We'd mostly have fried food out of the deep fryer. Right here in this patch, you'd see grass. But now it's mud where our family and Jamie came out here and buried our deep fryer. And that's the story about the deep fryer.

But now we're eating salads and stir fries which are better for you.

STACIE EDWARDS, FEATURED ON "FOOD REVOLUTION": Tonight we're just going to make a little bit of stir-fry. We're just going to add all of our veggies in with our meat that's already cooked.

What's good about dinner is that it's fast, it's easy, it's quick, whatever, you know? It tastes good. A serving size for someone like two ounces of pasta. You think you're not getting that much but you really are getting enough anyway.

J. EDWARDS: I think Jamie's awesome and he has done a lot of stuff for us. Right now we're eating better and I'm working out and now I know how to cook and that's the best thing that I've been.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Great story. We've got a question submitted to LARRY KING LIVE Facebook page. It says, "Having been a chubby kid, I remember turning to food when I felt unloved or stressed. Do you ever feel that way?"

Justin? Justin, do you ever feel stressed and turn to food when stressed?

J. EDWARDS: Yes, I do sometimes. Like when my parents got divorced. That's when I was stressed.

KING: Stacie, did you sense that he felt badly over that, and therefore turned to food?

S. EDWARDS: Yes. That's somewhat of what I thought the problem was.

KING: Do you deal with the psychological questions here, Ryan?

SEACREST: You know, we do.

KING: It's not just overeating, is it?

SEACREST: It's not just overeating. I mean it has to do with what's happening at home -- a lot. It has to do with -- I remember as a kid, we used to sit together at the table. And my mother would say -- you know you're going to sit there and you're going to have a conversation. And we would eat food that she cooked. And that set a great example for me. And so I think that, you know, while we're talking a lot about the schools, it also has to come from home. You look at that -- what I noticed this hour, you look at that tape of Stacie, and you remember you saw all the food piled up. The corndogs and the pizza and the burgers piled up on her table.

And now you see her making stir-fry, and you see them sitting together having a conversation, talking about their day. That's the most important part of this.

KING: My problem, Jamie, maybe it's the way I was raised, is I would always say, "Eat, eat" to the kids. No matter what it was. If it was pizza, "Finish your pizza."

I was wrong; right?

OLIVER: No, no, you weren't wrong. I mean I think, you know, that was in a time where food was scarce or money or poverty. And in some respects, all over the country, in different countries, that's still the same now. You don't want to waste food.

But I mean, you know, I guess, you know, times are changing. Lifestyles are changing. Fifty years ago, 12 percent of women worked, now 60 or 65% do. You know there are a lot of hard-working parents out there that don't have much time. And money, of course, is a stress.

But the problem is, is when food culture -- learning to cook at home -- stops, which it has. When learning to cook at school has stopped, which is pretty much has. And when you do have it, rarely is it that relevant.

You know, what happens is, you kind of buy into other peoples' solutions. And often, they're the ones that are buy-one-get-one-free, and it's the wrong stuff.

So, you know, I think what needs to happen, Larry, is we need to draw a line in the sand and say, "OK, it's kind of getting too bad." You know, with $150 billion spent a year on obesity alone, that is set to double in the next 8 to 10 years, which, by the way, you can't afford.

So we need to start proactively thinking about what we're going to do. You know what's the main street going to do? Fast food going to do? What commitments are supermarkets going to do?

We don't have to fight with them. We don't have to make them look bad. You know there's wonderful brands out there that have been blamed for a lot of stuff. You know I might've been horrible to them five years ago, but I believe now that we're all part of the solution.

And, you know, if we all do a bit -- and I think driven really by the government's (INAUDIBLE), you know, wonderful things can happen in America in the next 10 years.

KING: We thank Stacie and Justin. Back with our remaining moments. And Ryan's got a petition for us. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: A spokeswoman for Huntington says, "What people need to realize is, there was already a movement to make Huntington healthier."

Jamie -- do you take credit for the revolution that they've already started?

OLIVER: Look, Huntington had already been under a microscope. And Governor Manchin of West Virginia is probably one of the most inspiring governors I've ever met -- or politicians. Had already been doing quite a lot of tireless stuff with his wife, working in schools and across different areas.

Absolutely, the school system had already made lots and lots and lots of changes. And really, Kennedy, I guess my job was to kind of -- it wasn't just schools. It was kind of all the elements of the community coming together and, in one moment, to tell a story and to also sort of join forces and do even better.

So, you know, I don't want to take anyone's credit. I mean there's -- the only upside for me is sustainable, independent, good movements forward. You know we're in a very -- I think we're in a precious time right now with the Nutrition Act going through Congress. You know I think Michelle is trying to do some great things.

And I'm very worried about Congress. You know yesterday a whole load of work got done. $4.5 billion over a 10-year period is embarrassing, is rude, is disrespectful. It won't do anything. You know to think that $4.5 billion to help the child nutrition and the obesity across all the schools in America over 10 years, compared to $7 billion in a month in Iraq.

You know, it's -- we need more funds. Absolutely. I know it's about money. But there is nothing more precious than the kids and the future of this country.

KING: What else is there? Jamie -- it's hard to draw Jamie out. Right? He's so not opinionated.

OLIVER: Yes, I know. Right?

(LAUGHTER)

SEACREST: He doesn't believe in this at all. I mean this guy has the amazing ability to lead this revolution. But he's a human being. You know, he doesn't preach. He's kind. He was in Huntington for months, basically living there, while his babies and his family and his wife were in the UK. And he truly believes in it.

And like you said earlier, what's the downside? There's no negative that can come out of this.

KING: Did you have any trouble selling this to ABC? SEACREST: Jamie, you remember the day that we decided to go around Hollywood? And we had a list of meetings. And I believe we walked into two places, one of which was ABC. And Steve McPherson at ABC, who runs it, said, "I'm in. Not only for the show, but for this entire movement."

And that was important to you, Jamie. It wasn't just a television show.

OLIVER: No. Absolutely. You know what? From Steve McPherson all the way down, I think everyone -- this project has touched their heart. It's made them feel passionate about TV doing the job that it was invented for.

I think we think it's a moment in time where actually it's not just a story; it really could be a revolution. If everyone watches the show and feels passionate and emotional about it, everyone watching can do something. They can contribute.

This show is not a spectator's sport. I mean I think good things can happen in the next three to six months.

KING: Well said.

Our CNN Hero of the Week is someone who's been here before. Anne Mahlum was honored as a Top 10 Hero in 2008 for helping the homeless get back on their feet. And now her program is nationwide.

And this week, we've caught up with her in Washington as she expands it to the nation's capital.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: CNN Hero Anne Mahlum.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A few years ago, Anne Mahlum was honored as a CNN Hero for her "Back on My Feet" program, which inspires homeless men and women to change their own lives through running and job training.

What started off as a small running club of 300 expanded to more than 1500 members with 17 teams running three times a week nationwide.

ANNE MAHLUM, CNN HERO: We're doing great. Since being a CNN Hero, it's been extraordinary. We received so many request for expansion and people wanting to bring this program to their city.

COOPER: Last year alone, more than 170 members found work, started job training or moved out of shelters.

MAHLUM: All right, we're at the home stretch, guys, so pick it up.

COOPER: And is also featured in this month's issue of "Fitness" magazine along with the First Lady Michelle Obama, and has plans to expand to Boston and Chicago later this year. MAHLUM: We just gave them the opportunity to do something great. They took advantage of it and they did it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: What a great program. To find out if Anne is coming to your city, or to nominate someone you think is changing the world, go to CNN.com/Heroes.

More with Ryan and Jamie and some "Idol" chatter next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We only have a few moments left but Ryan Seacrest, who I know is pretty apolitical, is carrying a petition. What is this?

SEACREST: Well, this is Jamie's notion. And Jamie plans to take a million signatures to Washington.

Last night at "American Idol," I had Joe Jonas signed this, take a picture with it. And Demi Lovato.

KING: What does it say?

SEACREST: (INAUDIBLE) is a big fan, by the way, of Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato.

KING: I know.

SEACREST: Yes. OK.

This is, "I support the revolution. I believe that every child in America has the right to fresh, nutritious school meals." And it goes on.

So, Larry, we need your -- do you've got a pen there? We need your support.

KING: You've got it. Yes.

OLIVER: Come on, Larry.

KING: I'm doing it.

SEACREST: I mean, the King is doing it. He's marking -- he's time-stamping it and all. There it is. See, that is what we need and we appreciate.

And, you know, I have to say that being on the radio, Larry -- you've been on the show before. When we started talking about this, I don't know, two years ago, even before Jamie and I had a chance to meet, moms called in, and they said, "You have a platform, to me. You have the ability to talk about this stuff."

And I thought, you guys are right. This is something meaningful that we can use -- the radio show and the TV show -- to talk about. And I think that it can be fun, as well. I think cooking is fun.

KING: Jamie had spent a lot of -- we only have much time left. You had to spend a lot of time away from the family. Are you proud of doing this?

OLIVER: Well, it's always hard. I finally just got my picture through from my second daughter's birthday today where she's dressed up as "Annie" and she's getting her cake. So, yet again, I'm not there.

But the point is, I get time in my life to have good, loving quality time with my family. And if I were 60 or 70 years old and got asked why I didn't take the opportunity in my career like what Ryan said -- with the platforms that we have -- to try and make a difference in one of the biggest countries in the world.

And also, by the way, guys, if America changes, it's not just America. You know, whether they admit it or not, everyone copies America. Things will change around the whole world.

And I think really if anything can happen it's about a better perspective. And I'll mix in a --

KING: Jamie, I -- I might add a little pun. This is a revolution; this side, your side might win.

(LAUGHTER)

OLIVER: Well, let's try.

KING: OK. A little joke there. One other quick, before we leave. How's it going with Simon and Ellen and --

SEACREST: Oh, the drama's fantastic. I love it. You know anything that stirs the pot, over there.

KING: Do they not like each other? Like each other?

SEACREST: I think they like each other just fine. I think that they come from different points of view. I mean Simon is tough and he's acerbic and -- no offense, Jamie, he's English. No offense to the English, but --

(LAUGHTER)

SEACREST: That's who he is. Whereas, Ellen is just kind of generous, but she's so genuine. And she's so quick and funny. So it makes for sparks this season.

KING: How many more years are you committed to that?

SEACREST: I have four more years.

KING: That's it for tonight.

(LAUGHTER) SEACREST: Thank you for this, Larry.

KING: Thanks for everything.

OLIVER: Thank you, Larry.

KING: That's it for tonight. Thanks for everything. Where do you go to sign up? Thank you, Jamie. Where do you go to sign a petition? On dot-what?

SEACREST: You go to FoodRevolution.com. And you can sign it right there. It looks like there. There's the King's signature.

KING: And Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" premieres tomorrow night on ABC.

We'll see you tomorrow night with Snoop Dog. It's a riot.

SEACREST: The full hour?

KING: We pretaped it. It's a riot.

Check out our photo gallery and show preview at CNN.com/Larryking, and see me bounce along in the Snoop's car.

Time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC360."