Nightly News   |  March 24, 2013

The Oklahoma City diet

In Oklahoma City, residents are losing weight together. NBC’s Ron Mott reports.

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>>> finally tonight, a big loss to report in oklahoma city , one that city is taking great pride in. thanks to a public challenge by its mayor five years ago, oklahoma city may have finally shed an image that for too long has weighed it down. nbc 's ron mott explains.

>> reporter: these days, twin cops dave and don evans move as much as they used to sit around. burning calories more than storing them on dual 400-pound frames.

>> biggest regret i have is that i spen 0 years being fat. i didn't have to. all i had to do was make a few simple changes.

>> reporter: changes hitting close to home for the veteran oklahoma city police officers an nbc 's bg alums. fans motivated the fans to act especially for their children.

>> couldn't really do anything. couldn't take her to the park, couldn't go swimming, couldn't teach her how to ride a bike.

>> reporter: together they dropped more than 400 pounds, just two of about 50,000 success stories here in a city whose mayor mick cornett challenged the town to go on a diet.

>> you're seeing jen ragsz of people who have had had poor health start to say we've got to end this, quit this, we've good to proactively take charge of our lives.

>> reporter: more than a million pounds later, healthier menus and facilities abound. over the years, new ways to stay active have cropped up just about everywhere here. from those new gyms to wider sidewalks, to bike paths, to something they call the sky trail with impressive results. oklahoma city has literally moved from one of the fattest to one of the fittest cities in america. around the country, obesity is a growing public health emergency, especially for children. doubling in the past 30 years, tripling for adolescents. nowhere perhaps is the concern greatest than in mississippi. last again in america's health ranking. business owner linda has won a claim for shaking up her hometown spearheading nutrition education, keeping kids active.

>> when we come together, we make so much progress than just one person trying to do it alone.

>> reporter: winning by losing in unison. ron mott, nbc news, oklahoma city .