First lady commends OKC diet initiative

Published: Friday, January 22, 2010 7:00 am

The Journal Record

WASHINGTON, D.C. - First lady Michelle Obama on Wednesday highlighted Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett's "This City Is Going on a Diet" initiative in a speech to a meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington.

She urged the nation's mayors to join her in a campaign to reduce childhood obesity. She said locally elected leaders are among the first to see what's happening to the people in their communities.

A formal rollout of her program is planned for next month. Obama has said she will look to businesses and nonprofits, community and health centers, educators, religious leaders and government to help.

She cited Cornett's "This City Is Going On A Diet" initiative and the program's Web site as an American anti-obesity success story.

"Mayor Mick Cornett challenged the people of Oklahoma City to lose a million pounds, and he created a Web site - - where people can learn how to lose weight and track their weight loss, and can share personal stories and tips with others," the first lady said. "So far, 40,000 people have signed up - and together, they've lost more than half a million pounds."

Obama commended Cornett for using his "bully pulpit."

"That's what Mayor Cornett did, when he started talking about the problem of obesity and lost 40 pounds himself to get down to his target weight," she said. "And the people of his city took notice. When he goes to restaurants now, everyone watches what he orders."

Cornett launched his program on Dec. 31, 2007.

"We are honored to continue receiving attention for this initiative and I think these remarks by the first lady are further validation that we have successfully opened up a serious community dialogue about obesity," Cornett said. "We still have a lot of work to do in Oklahoma City, but the statement we're making about our personal health has captured the attention of the first lady, and that's a great compliment to our citizens."

In June, the annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors will be in Oklahoma City for the first time. - Staff report, Associated Press

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