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Mayor Puts City on Diet to Lose a Million Pounds




Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts

--Applied Math

Physical Education

--Our Bodies

Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

The mayor of one of Americas fattest cities" hopes to trim the fat.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading, write the word resolution on the board or a sheet of chart paper. Invite students to talk about the meaning of that word and to share some of their personal resolutions for 2008.

News Words

Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: residents, extreme, obesity, register, calculate, and survey. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • My uncle had to go to City Hall so he could _____ to vote in the upcoming election. (register)
  • I took a _____ of my friends so I could learn about their favorite computer games. (survey)
  • Pablo used the maps scale of miles to help him _____ the number of miles between New York City and Chicago. (calculate)
  • Our city is home to more than 25,000 _____. (residents)
  • My father said he would take _____ measures if my report card grades go down again. (extreme)
  • _____ is one of the biggest health issues facing people in the United States. (Obesity)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Mayor Puts City on Diet to Lose a Million Pounds.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

  • Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

  • Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

  • Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

  • Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

  • More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • Mayor Mick Cornetts resolution for the people of Oklahoma City is motivated in part by his own struggle to lose weight. Last spring, the 5-foot 10-inch Cornett, age 49, weighed 217 pounds. Since he started a personal fitness program he has lost 35 pounds.
  • As someone who has addressed weight-loss issues my entire life, I know how difficult it can be," said Cornett on the citys Web site. But we can do it. We need to pull together as a community Obesity is an epidemic in Oklahoma, and the problem is only getting worse. Its time to end our sedentary, fast food lifestyle."
  • The message of this obesity initiative is that we've got to watch what we eat," Cornett told CBS News Online. Exercise is part of it but you're not really going to take on obesity unless you acknowledge that we eat too much and don't eat the right foods."
  • According to the magazine Mens Fitness, Oklahoma City is one America's fattest cities. The city ranked 15th in the magazines 2007 survey. According to the survey, Las Vegas is Americas fattest city of all. The annual survey examines lifestyle factors in each city, including fast-food restaurants per capita and the availability of city parks, gyms, and bike paths.
  • According to the Trust for Americas Health, Oklahoma City has the ninth highest rate of adult obesity in the nation and the 17th highest rate of obesity for children ages 10 to 17.
  • A 2007 article in Fortune magazine tabbed Oklahoma City as the fast-food capital of America.
  • As part of the mayors trim-the-fat initiative, residents can sign up to track their weight loss on a new Web site, A live counter at the top of the Web site announces the number of participants, the total weight loss since the start of the year, and the average weight loss per participant. Corporations, civic groups, and individuals are all encouraged to register.
  • Oklahomas official state meal includes cornbread, sausage and gravy, chicken fried steak, and pecan pie -- all of which are heavy in calories.

    Comprehension Check

    Recalling Detail

  • Of which city is Mick Cornett mayor? (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

  • What special New Years resolution did Cornett introduce to the people of his city? (He has challenged them to lose a total of a million pounds.)

  • Why did Cornett introduce this resolution to the people of his city? (answers may vary; Oklahoma City has one of the highest rates of obesity in the U.S.)

  • What kinds of information can people find on a special city Web site that Cornett has introduced? (People can register there, and they can track the number of participants and the amount of weight lost. They can learn their Body Mass Index (BMI). They can find healthful recipes, links to fitness centers, and dates of healthful activities taking place throughout the city.)

  • How many new gymnasiums does the city plan to build? (47)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Geography -- location. Students might complete this activity on their own or in pairs. Provide students with a blank outline map of the United States. Provide the rankings of the fattest and fittest U.S. cities from the Mens Fitness 2007 survey. (Scroll down the page for the two lists.) Have students research the locations of the cities and mark a blue dot at the location of each of the fittest cities; have them mark each of the fattest cities with a red dot. Than ask them to create a map key to go with their maps. Note: Choose in advance how many cities students will mark. For example, if you teach young students you might have them mark only the top 5 cities in each of the two lists.

    Language arts -- root words. Have students identify and spell the root word for each of these words from the News for Kids article: resolutions, challenged, residents, healthful, decided, highest, obesity, registered, recipes, activities, surrounded, putting, and healthier.

    Math -- real-life math. Watch the live counter on Oklahoma Citys thiscityisgoingonadiet Web site. Create a chart and record each day the number of participants and the amount of weight lost. Choose students to calculate each days increase in participation and weight loss.

    Language arts -- idioms. Did you ever stop to think how many idioms in our language are tied to food? How about bring home the bacon or chew the fat or spill the beans? Have some fun with students by using this Eating Up Idioms lesson plan.


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News question on the news story page.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.7 Evaluating Data
    NL-ENG.K-12.8 Developing Research Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    MATHEMATICS: Number and Operations
    GRADES Pre-K - 2
    NM-NUM.PK-2.2 Understand Meanings of Operations and How They Relate to One Another
    NM-NUM.PK-2.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 3 - 5
    NM-NUM.3-5.2 Understand Meanings of Operations and How They Relate to One Another
    NM-NUM.3-5.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 6 - 8
    NM-NUM.6-8.2 Understand Meanings of Operations and How They Relate to One Another
    NM-NUM.6-8.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NM-NUM.9-12.2 Understand Meanings of Operations and How They Relate to One Another
    NM-NUM.9-12.3 Compute Fluently and Make Reasonable Estimates

    MATHEMATICS: Representation
    GRADES Pre-K - 12
    NM-REP.PK-12.1 Create and Use Representations to Organize, Record, and Communicate Mathematical Ideas

    GRADES K - 12
    NPH.K-12.4 Physical Fitness

    GRADES K - 4
    NPH-H.K-4.4 Health Influences
    NPH-H.K-4.6 Setting Goals for Good Health
    NPH-H.K-4.7 Health Advocacy
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NPH-H.5-8.4 Health Influences
    NPH-H.5-8.6 Setting Goals for Good Health
    NPH-H.5-8.7 Health Advocacy
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NPH-H.9-12.4 Health Influences
    NPH-H.9-12.6 Setting Goals for Good Health
    NPH-H.9-12.7 Health Advocacy

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms
    NSS-G.K-12.6 Uses of Geography

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2008 Education World