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Champions of Health & Fitness 2010

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Mayor on a Mission: Mick Cornett

Telling people that they need to lose weight isn't normally going to win you friends or voters. But Mick Cornett isn't your usual politician. The Republican mayor of Oklahoma City is a straight talker. He also cares very much about the health of his constituents.

So when his hometown appeared on a "fattest cities" list three years ago, Cornett decided to put Oklahoma City on a diet. "My advisers weren't so keen on the idea," says Cornett, who himself has lost 38 pounds. "But just sending out the message to eat more fruits and vegetables wasn't going to get anyone's attention."

To help citizens meet his challenge, the mayor arranged for a privately funded Web site (thiscityisgoingonadiet.com) where people can chart their progress and access useful links. He also got behind such initiatives as building gymnasiums in all 47 inner-city grade schools and adding 425 miles of sidewalks and 57 miles of trails.

The response has been resounding. As of January a total of 40,436 residents have lost 519,460 pounds. Restaurants have created low-cal offerings that they list as "the mayor's special" on menus. From around the state, Tulsa, Enid, and Edmond have called, wanting to adopt similar programs. Believing that it takes a healthy populace for a city to thrive, Cornett says, "I was just trying to start a conversation about weight." In the process, he founded a movement.

-- Caroline Hwang

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shell813@gmail.com wrote:

What a great story - kuddos!

3/26/2010 01:16:40 PM Report Abuse

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