Johnny Depp's heavyweight screen mum in cult film WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE? is spearheading a new campaign to urge obese people to seek help.

Actress Darlene Cates, who has been wheelchair-bound for the past 10 years, teamed up with American celebrity news show

ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT for her first weighing session in three years to prompt other obese people out of their homes.

Cates admitted she rarely leaves her house because the process to leave home is so physically demanding.

She said, "I usually have to take a pain pill before I go and usually one before I get home because it's very difficult and exhausting."

But she was determined to make the trip to the doctor on TV, even though she weighed in at a hulking 246.5 kilograms (543.4 pounds).

She added, "It's not so important how much I weigh because I'm so much more than the numbers on the scale. I think it's good for your own knowledge of yourself to have some idea of where you are.

"There is no shame in going out and doing what needs to be done. Don't let anybody get you down. Just let your light shine."

12/05/2004 09:21