What Politicians Can Learn from the Oklahoma City Mayor

“Let’s go on a diet.”

That is what Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett told his city after several years on the Men’s Fitness list of the fattest cities. Politico reports, “Mick Cornett had been mayor of the city for three years when he noticed that magazine listicle. The driven, metrics-obsessed former sportscaster had just shed 40 pounds in 40 weeks by reducing his daily caloric input from 3,000 to 2,000.” 
Politico continues, “In taking this on, Cornett was wading into a challenge that has preoccupied, and vexed, a lot of political leaders. America is heavy. A third of us are overweight, one in six obese. The numbers have more than doubled in two decades – in Oklahoma they tripled. Being too fat costs us billions in health care dollars – a cost borne by individuals, employers and local health care systems.” 
Instead of forcing the city’s residents to make different choices by eliminating the option for a large soda or certain sugary treats, Cornett took a different approach. He led by example and challenged his residents to join him in living a healthier life. “In Cornett’s anti-obesity campaign, all were welcome, even the fast-food chains. Many restaurants in town put on a health ‘mayor’s special’ on their menus. … People began signing up on the mayor’s website and reporting their weight loss. In 2012, four years after the campaign started, the city passed the 1 million pound mark, according to the website.” 
Cornett’s leadership has helped the city turn its health around. Political leaders on the national level should pay attention and change their rhetoric on health care from shallow arguments about the cost of health care to substantive proposals to combat chronic disease the true driver of health spending. Obesity often coexists with other chronic conditions, and with more than one in four Americans struggling daily with one or more debilitating chronic diseases it is important to remember that even making small lifestyle changes can make a big difference in overall health and wellness. Join us in this fight for health by signing the petition today.