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How many of you have been to Oklahoma City?
Raise your hand. Yeah?
How many of you have not been to Oklahoma City
and have no idea who I am? (Laughter)
Most of you. Let me give you a little bit of background.
Oklahoma City started in the most
unique way imaginable.
Back on a spring day in 1889,
the federal government held what they called
a land run.
They literally lined up the settlers
along an imaginary line,
and they fired off a gun,
and the settlers roared across the countryside
and put down a stake,
and wherever they put down that stake,
that was their new home.
And at the end of the very first day,
the population of Oklahoma City
had gone from zero to 10,000,
and our planning department
is still paying for that.
The citizens got together on that first day
and elected a mayor.
And then they shot him.
That's not really all that funny
-- (Laughter) --
but it allows me to see what type of audience
I'm dealing with, so I appreciate the feedback.
The 20th century was fairly kind to Oklahoma City.
Our economy was based on commodities,
so the price of cotton or the price of wheat,
and ultimately the price of oil and natural gas.
And along the way, we became a city
of innovation.
The shopping cart was invented in Oklahoma City.
The parking meter, invented in Oklahoma City.
You're welcome.
Having an economy, though,
that relates to commodities can give you some ups and some downs,
and that was certainly the case in Oklahoma City's history.
In the 1970s, when it appeared
that the price of energy would never retreat,
our economy was soaring,
and then in the early 1980s, it cratered quickly.
The price of energy dropped.
Our banks began to fail.
Before the end of the decade,
100 banks had failed in the state of Oklahoma.
There was no bailout on the horizon.
Our banking industry, our oil and gas industry,
our commercial real estate industry,
were all at the bottom of the economic scale.
Young people were leaving Oklahoma City in droves
for Washington and Dallas and Houston and New York and Tokyo,
anywhere where they could find a job that measured up
to their educational attainment,
because in Oklahoma City, the good jobs just weren't there.
But along at the end of the '80s
came an enterprising businessman
who became mayor named Ron Norick.
Ron Norick eventually figured out
that the secret to economic development
wasn't incentivizing companies up front,
it was about creating a place where businesses wanted to locate,
and so he pushed an initiative called MAPS
that basically was a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax
to build a bunch of stuff.
It built a new sports arena,
a new canal downtown,
it fixed up our performing arts center,
a new baseball stadium downtown,
a lot of things to improve the quality of life.
And the economy indeed seemed to start
showing some signs of life.
The next mayor came along.
He started MAPS for Kids,
rebuilt the entire inner city school system,
all 75 buildings either built anew or refurbished.
And then, in 2004,
in this rare collective lack of judgment
bordering on civil disobedience,
the citizens elected me mayor.
Now the city I inherited
was just on the verge
of coming out of its slumbering economy,
and for the very first time,
we started showing up on the lists.
Now you know the lists I'm talking about.
The media and the Internet
love to rank cities.
And in Oklahoma City,
we'd never really been on lists before.
So I thought it was kind of cool
when they came out with these positive lists and we were on there.
We weren't anywhere close to the top,
but we were on the list, we were somebody.
Best city to get a job,
best city to start a business,
best downtown --
Oklahoma City.
And then came the list
of the most obese cities in the country.
And there we were.
Now I like to point out that we were on that list
with a lot of really cool places.
Dallas and Houston and New Orleans
and Atlanta and Miami.
You know, these are cities that, typically,
you're not embarrassed to be associated with.
But nonetheless, I didn't like being on the list.
And about that time, I got on the scales.
And I weighed 220 pounds.
And then I went to this website
sponsored by the federal government,
and I typed in my height, I typed in my weight,
and I pushed Enter,
and it came back and said "obese."
I thought, "What a stupid website."
"I'm not obese. I would know if I was obese."
And then I started getting honest with myself
about what had become my lifelong struggle with obesity,
and I noticed this pattern,
that I was gaining about two or three pounds a year,
and then about every 10 years, I'd drop 20 or 30 pounds.
And then I'd do it again.
And I had this huge closet full of clothes,
and I could only wear a third of it at any one time,
and only I knew which part of the closet I could wear.
But it all seemed fairly normal, going through it.
Well, I finally decided I needed to lose weight,
and I knew I could because I'd done it so many times before,
so I simply stopped eating as much.
I had always exercised.
That really wasn't the part of the equation
that I needed to work on.
But I had been eating 3,000 calories a day,
and I cut it to 2,000 calories a day,
and the weight came off. I lost about a pound a week
for about 40 weeks.
Along the way, though,
I started examining my city,
its culture, its infrastructure,
trying to figure out why our specific city
seemed to have a problem with obesity.
And I came to the conclusion
that we had built an incredible quality of life
if you happen to be a car.
But if you happen to be a person,
you are combatting the car seemingly at every turn.
Our city is very spread out.
We have a great intersection of highways,
I mean, literally no traffic congestion in Oklahoma City to speak of.
And so people live far, far away.
Our city limits are enormous, 620 square miles,
but 15 miles is less than 15 minutes.
You literally can get a speeding ticket
during rush hour in Oklahoma City.
And as a result, people tend to spread out.
Land's cheap.
We had also not required developers
to build sidewalks on new developments for a long, long time.
We had fixed that, but it had been relatively recently,
and there were literally 100,000
or more homes into our inventory
in neighborhoods that had virtually no level of walkability.
And as I tried to examine
how we might deal with obesity,
and was taking all of these elements into my mind,
I decided that the first thing we need to do
was have a conversation.
You see, in Oklahoma City,
we weren't talking about obesity.
And so, on New Year's Eve of 2007,
I went to the zoo,
and I stood in front of the elephants,
and I said, "This city is going on a diet,
and we're going to lose a million pounds."
Well, that's when all hell broke loose.
The national media
gravitated toward this story immediately,
and they really could have gone with it one of two ways.
They could have said,
"This city is so fat
that the mayor had to put them on a diet."
But fortunately, the consensus was,
"Look, this is a problem in a lot of places.
This is a city that's wanting to do something about it."
And so they started helping us
drive traffic to the website.
Now, the web address was
And I appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show"
one weekday morning to talk about the initiative,
and on that day, 150,000 visits
were placed to our website.
People were signing up,
and so the pounds started to add up,
and the conversation that I thought
was so important to have was starting to take place.
It was taking place inside the homes,
mothers and fathers talking about it with their kids.
It was taking place in churches.
Churches were starting their own running groups
and their own support groups
for people who were dealing with obesity.
Suddenly, it was a topic worth discussing at schools
and in the workplace.
And the large companies, they typically have
wonderful wellness programs,
but the medium-sized companies
that typically fall between the cracks on issues like this,
they started to get engaged and used our program
as a model for their own employees
to try and have contests to see
who might be able to deal with their obesity situation
in a way that could be proactively beneficial to others.
And then came the next stage of the equation.
It was time to push what I called MAPS 3.
Now MAPS 3, like the other two programs,
had had an economic development motive behind it,
but along with the traditional economic development tasks
like building a new convention center,
we added some health-related infrastructure
to the process.
We added a new central park, 70 acres in size,
to be right downtown in Oklahoma City.
We're building a downtown streetcar
to try and help the walkability formula
for people who choose to live in the inner city
and help us create the density there.
We're building senior health and wellness centers
throughout the community.
We put some investments on the river
that had originally been invested upon
in the original MAPS,
and now we are currently in the final stages
of developing the finest venue in the world
for the sports of canoe, kayak and rowing.
We hosted the Olympic trials last spring.
We have Olympic-caliber events coming to Oklahoma City,
and athletes from all over the world moving in,
along with inner city programs
to get kids more engaged in these types of recreational activities
that are a little bit nontraditional.
We also, with another initiative that was passed,
are building hundreds of miles of new sidewalks
throughout the metro area.
We're even going back into some
inner city situations
where we had built neighborhoods
and we had built schools
but we had not connected the two.
We had built libraries and we had built neighborhoods,
but we had never really connected the two
with any sort of walkability.
Through yet another funding source,
we're redesigning all of our inner city streets
to be more pedestrian-friendly.
Our streets were really wide,
and you'd push the button to allow you to walk across,
and you had to run in order to get there in time.
But now we've narrowed the streets,
highly landscaped them, making them more pedestrian-friendly,
really a redesign, rethinking the way
we build our infrastructure,
designing a city around people and not cars.
We're completing our bicycle trail master plan.
We'll have over 100 miles
when we're through building it out.
And so you see this culture starting to shift
in Oklahoma City.
And lo and behold, the demographic changes
that are coming with it are very inspiring.
Highly educated twenty-somethings
are moving to Oklahoma City from all over the region
and, indeed, even from further away, in California.
When we reached a million pounds,
in January of 2012,
I flew to New York with some our participants
who had lost over 100 pounds,
whose lives had been changed,
and we appeared on the Rachael Ray show,
and then that afternoon, I did a round of media in New York
pushing the same messages
that you're accustomed to hearing about obesity and the dangers of it.
And I went into the lobby of Men's Fitness magazine,
the same magazine that had put us on that list
five years before.
And as I'm sitting in the lobby waiting to talk to the reporter,
I notice there's a magazine copy
of the current issue right there on the table,
and I pick it up, and I look at the headline
across the top, and it says,
"America's Fattest Cities: Do You Live in One?"
Well, I knew I did,
so I picked up the magazine
and I began to look,
and we weren't on it.
Then I looked on the list of fittest cities,
and we were on that list.
We were on the list as the 22nd fittest city in the United States.
Our state health statistics are doing better.
Granted, we have a long way to go.
Health is still not something
that we should be proud of in Oklahoma City,
but we seem to have turned the cultural shift
of making health a greater priority.
And we love the idea of the demographics
of highly educated twentysomethings,
people with choices, choosing Oklahoma City
in large numbers.
We have the lowest unemployment in the United States,
probably the strongest economy in the United States.
And if you're like me, at some point
in your educational career,
you were asked to read a book called
"The Grapes of Wrath."
Oklahomans leaving for California
in large numbers for a better future.
When we look at the demographic shifts
of people coming from the west,
it appears that what we're seeing now
is the wrath of grapes.
The grandchildren are coming home.
You've been a great audience and very attentive.
Thank you very much for having me here.
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【TED】Mick Cornett: How an obese town lost a million pounds (How an obese town lost a million pounds | Mick Cornett)

43496 Folder Collection
CUChou published on March 16, 2015
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