Mick Cornett, Oklahoma City Mayor: This city is going on a diet

When Oklahoma City appeared on a magazine’s list of the nation’s most obese cities, Mayor Mick Cornett decided to do something about it. He realized that, to make his city a great place to work and live, it had to become healthier too. In 2007, he put the entire city on a diet and challenged residents to lose one million pounds, a goal they met five years later. Then, Oklahoma City decided to rethink urban environment and design a city that promotes healthy, active lifestyles.


We’re pleased to have Cornett as one of our keynote speakers at the third annual "Connecting to Transform Communities" conference to share what helped make it all happen.


When the city met the one million pound goal for its OKC Mission in February 2012, Cornett wrote in an article in the U.S. Mayor Newspaper, “The new awareness led to public policy decisions designed to make Oklahoma City a healthier community. With city council’s leadership and the will of the people, we are working to create an Oklahoma City designed for active people.”


He noted that the city began narrowing streets and widening sidewalks and landscaping to make the urban core more pedestrian friendly. They also made significant capital improvements commitments, including a new large downtown park, 50 additional miles of walking and biking trails, improved sidewalks throughout the city and health and wellness aquatic centers for seniors. In 44 inner-city elementary schools, they began building new gyms and they also eliminated fried foods from school menus.


“It might take a generation to fully change behaviors,” wrote Corbett, “but the people and policies in Oklahoma City are addressing the issue of obesity in creative and concrete ways.”


Check out Cornett’s TED talk on the initiative, which has been viewed by more than 1.4 million people worldwide. Then join us at the Connecting conference and prepare to be inspired!