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This city needs to go on yet another diet….

2:30 PM EDT on June 10, 2013

2012 State Fair Photo 18A

I guess we're still fat.

Just a couple of years after city leaders announced the citizens of OKC lost one-million pounds by eating fruits and vegetables and rollerblading around Lake Hefner or whatever, Oklahoma City is back in the familiar spot of being one of the unhealthiest cities in America.

From ABC News:

Minneapolis was rated as the country’s healthiest and most fit city while Oklahoma City needs to get on a treadmill.

It is the third year in a row that Minneapolis topped the national ranking by the American College of Sports Medicine. It’s the fifth year in a row that Oklahoma City has come in dead last...

Oklahoma City was ranked last in the 50 cities analyzed. The study found that 77 percent of Oklahoma City residents have health insurance, and 67 percent have exercised in the last month.  The death rate for heart disease is 23 percent, while in Minneapolis it is 12 percent.

Wait a second? Fifth year in a row? As I mentioned above, I thought we conquered our obesity problem when Mayor Cornett put us on that diet back in 2007. It was joyous occasion. We lost 1,000,000 pounds, fit into the skinny jeans and everyone got laid.

At least we did according to this "Mission Accomplished" article that was published in the Oklahoman in February of 2012:

Oklahoma City now on list of fittest American cities

Oklahoma City ranks No. 23 on the Men's Fitness magazine list of the fittest American cities. It was Oklahoma City's high ranking on the publication's fattest cities list that inspired Mayor Mick Cornett's public efforts to encourage healthy habits in the area.

A high ranking on a magazine's list of the fattest cities in America inspired Mayor Mick Cornett's public challenge for Oklahoma City to get healthier.

But the magazine's new rankings put Oklahoma City among the fittest communities, signaling to Cornett that awareness is making an impact.

Oklahoma City ranks as the 23rd fittest city in America in a list published in the March issue of Men's Fitness magazine.

Five years ago, Oklahoma City ranked No. 8 on the magazine's fattest cities list.

“It's something we should feel good about. We've worked hard at it,” Cornett said. “I'm grateful that people who have worked hard to turn their lives around are seeing some validation for it.”

In all fairness, The State's Most Trusted News was simply reporting data that came from Men's Health. That magazine is not exactly the bastion of journalistic excellence, but it's also not WTF Weekly or The Onion's Book of Lists. The Oklahoman folks were also likely pitched the story by the Chamber of Commerce's PR flacks. That made the story more enticing to cover and less fun to fact check. When fancy people in suits come at you with a press release, easy content, a feel good look at how awesome our city is doing story, and buy you lunch at a restaurant, it's tough not to publish it.

Also, the Oklahoman wasn't the only news organization to bite on flimsy story and PR pitch. The national media did so, too. Ben Paynter from Business Week took the the bait. You can tell, because he also went down on MAPS 3:

Five years ago, Oklahoma City was named one of the fattest cities in America. Today, it’s one of the fittest and looks to stay that way. Not only have residents lost tons of cumulative weight, they also joined forces with business interests to raise taxes to fund $917 million worth of public improvements aimed at advancing community health, fitness, and quality of life.

Yeah, we're one of the fittest cities and look to stay that way...if you conveniently ignore common sense, awareness of your surroundings and a study from a medical organization that's ranked OKC the least fit city in America for five straight years. Oh well, at least we'll have a big empty place to exercise when they finally get around to building that convention center.

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