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Let's Move in Oklahoma City

In 2007, Oklahoma City had great momentum. Our economy was booming and investments we had made in ourselves were beginning to pay off. But there was one significant issue we were avoiding – obesity. It was causing us all sorts of health problems, and it was getting us the kind of attention we didn't want. And we weren't even talking about it.

I myself was at an unhealthy weight. That year, I lost 42 pounds, and along the way, I realized I had to do something to help the City reach its goals. So, on December 31st of that year, I declared that everyone in Oklahoma City was going on a diet. The centerpiece of the initiative, one that continues to this day, was the web site, www.thiscityisgoingonadiet.com, where participants could sign up to track their weight loss and share support and tips.

Since then, over 42,000 participants have lost over 575,000 pounds, and we are well on our way to the goal we set of one million lost pounds. But more importantly, we are changing the culture of Oklahoma City. This year, the First Lady invited myself and other mayors to a conversation about the obesity issue, particularly as it affects children. That was followed by the launch of her national initiative, "Let's Move!"

There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come, and the time to make an impact on the epidemic of obesity has definitely arrived.

On June 11, during the Annual Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors here in Oklahoma City, the First Lady and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, announced the creation of "Let's Move Cities and Towns." Mayors across the country are being asked to sign up and take steps to make their community a healthier place, especially for our children. I was proud to be one of the first mayors to sign up, and I look forward to helping the First Lady sign up cities across the country.

We must take on this issue, and I commend the First Lady for making this her priority. With her support, and so many others, I believe we can place a new emphasis on our health.