Oklahoma City Residents Lose One Million Pounds – Shed "Fattest City" Label | Athletic Business

Oklahoma City Residents Lose One Million Pounds – Shed "Fattest City" Label

SILVER SPRING, MD – July 6, 2016 – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is a city of true transformation. And local leaders and residents are delighted with the change. Other U.S. cities should consider following Oklahoma City’s lead.

In 2007, after being named America’s 2nd Fattest City by Men’s Fitness Magazine, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett took action to reverse his city’s unhealthy label.  He started a website – ThisCityIsGoingOnADiet.com – which provided fitness and lifestyle guidance to help local residents respond to their city’s negative image.

Since the launch of ThisCityIsGoingOnADiet.com on December 31, 2007, the positive news out of Oklahoma City is eye-opening, as city residents are physically active and reaping the benefits:

  1. local residents have walked or ran more than 3,000,000 miles;

  2. more than 51,000 local residents have started losing weight;

  3. local residents have spent more than 144,000 hours working out and exercising;

  4. local residents have lost at least 1,000,000 pounds.


We have done it,” says Mayor Cornett.  “Together we have reached our goal of losing 1,000,000 pounds!  From an awareness standpoint, this program has been a tremendous success.”

One of those local residents who contributed to the 1,000,000 pounds of lost weight was a local youngster -- Mason Carter Harvey from Guthrie, Oklahoma.  Harvey lost 85 pounds by making a commitment to physical activity.

“I put down my Xbox 360, started playing more outside, playing sports, and riding my bike,” wrote Harvey in a letter to Mayor Cornett.

Oklahoma City’s success was chronicled in Men’s Fitness.  And, Mayor Cornett described his city’s fitness journey during a TedTalk.

According to Steve Hill, Mayor Cornett’s Chief of Staff, Oklahoma City is trying to build the kind of city where a 20-minute walk will be fun and lead you somewhere to do more physical activity, such as white water rafting or playing in one of the city parks.  Hill admits that Oklahoma City’s infrastructure has been revamped to encourage residents and the local workforce to be more physically active in their daily lives.

“I applaud the leadership of Mayor Cornett in Oklahoma City to get his local residents and leaders focused on creating a fitness-centric existence for their city,” says Mike May, PHIT America’s Director of Communications.  “This issue of encouraging Americans to be physically active is a national concern, but it’s only going to be solved on a local level.  Oklahoma City is setting an example for other cities to follow.”

Since 2008, Mayor Cornett reports that local churches, businesses, schools, and families have been actively engaged in supporting Oklahoma City’s effort to make fitness and health a major priority.  Mayor Cornett notes that there have been a number of major changes to Oklahoma City’s landscape which puts an emphasis on physical activity and people spending more time outdoors:

  1. More pedestrian-friendly inner-city streets are being built to encourage more walking;

  2. A 70-acre park is being built downtown, similar in scale to New York City’s Central Park;

  3. Senior health and wellness centers are being built for local residents;

  4. Gymnasiums are being built at all local elementary schools – nearly 50 in all;

  5. Hundreds of miles of new sidewalks and bike trails have been built to encourage walking and bicycling in Oklahoma City.

The city has also constructed an Olympic caliber white water rafting facility for local residents and visitors.  The existence of such a facility “helps get kids engaged in these non-traditional activities,” adds Mayor Cornett.

By 2012, Oklahoma City appeared on Men’s Fitness Magazine’s list of America’s Fittest Cities.  And Oklahoma City’s commitment to fitness and healthy living endures to this day.  

“Clearly we’re doing better and clearly we have a long way to go,” says Mayor Cornett. “We still have room for improvement.  I think it’s probably going to take a decade to really change behaviors.”  

To encourage other U.S. mayors to get their residents more focused on fitness, PHIT America has developed the Mayors Fitness Challenge, which is a local 10-week health and wellness campaign designed to encourage community interaction through fitness and educational programs.

Founded in January 2013, PHIT America (www.phitamerica.org) is a non-profit campaign focused on overcoming the severe ramifications of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ through three strategic approaches – education, supporting school-based activity programs, and advocating – which will get Americans, especially our youth, more active, fit and healthy.  For more information about PHIT America, visit www.PHITAmerica.org.

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