Continental Resources brings anti-obesity program to Oklahoma City youth

June 1, 2012
Continental Resources, Inc. is bringing a proactive health movement with a unique in-school educational and mentoring component to roughly 800 Oklahoma City youth.

Kyle W. Fake
Associate Editor – OGFJ

Continental Resources, Inc. is bringing a proactive health movement with a unique in-school educational and mentoring component to roughly 800 Oklahoma City youth.

Beginning this fall, students at the Advanced Science and Technology Education Charter (ASTEC) Schools in the city's Shepherd Historic District will participate in HealthCorps, a program that addresses childhood obesity by teaching teens to embrace healthier lifestyle habits such as proper nutrition and exercise and then taking that message to their contemporaries in the community.

HealthCorps was co-founded in 2003 by cardiac surgeon and The Dr. Oz Show host Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife, Lisa Oz. Their inspiration was the growing number of heart operations Dr. Oz performed on patients in their 20s due to poor lifestyle choices. Their goal is to save a generation of youth from sustaining life spans shorter than their parents.

Harold Hamm, Continental Resources CEO and chairman

Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show and founder of HealthCorps

"HealthCorps is committed to reaching high school students to empower a new generation of agents of change for personal wellness," said Dr. Oz, vice-chair and professor of surgery at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. "At HealthCorps, our school coordinators are on the frontlines making health ‘hip' for teens by getting them to read food labels, increase physical activity and serve their communities. Continental's leadership in bringing this movement to Oklahoma means better health and better opportunities for thousands of teens and community members."

The program has three priorities: educating the student body, achieving community outreach through local projects and initiatives, and advocating for policy shifts that put health and physical education back into the core curriculum of the US education system.

ASTEC Charter students celebrate Constitution Day.

With the addition of ASTEC, the HealthCorps network will span 54 high schools in 14 states. Continental Resources is the founding sponsor of HealthCorps in Oklahoma.

"HealthCorps is an innovative approach to transforming lives and communities," said Harold Hamm, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources and founder of the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center at the University of Oklahoma. "It's well-known that a balanced diet and regular exercise help students learn better. Through our partnership with HealthCorps, we aim to give Oklahoma teens the foundation for a vibrant and prosperous future."

The program at ASTEC's middle and high schools will be coordinated by Ryan Fightmaster, currently director of the Oklahoma Run to Defeat Diabetes Foundation. As part of HealthCorps' mandate, ASTEC students will become health advocates, taking what they learn to Oklahoma City neighborhoods with events such as the month-long Healthy Steps virtual race that utilizes pedometers; community-based "Highway to Health" festivals; and partnerships with local health resources and nonprofits that share HealthCorps' mission.

"To be able to offer this program to ASTEC students and families is a dream come true, thanks to the vision of Continental Resources and their commitment to Oklahoma," said Freda Deskin, CEO and founder of ASTEC. "We look forward to working with these two partners on this very exciting journey."

More on HealthCorps

The HealthCorps board includes Dr. Dean Ornish, Preventive Medicine Research Institute (Sausalito, Calif.); Dr. David Katz, Yale University; Dr. Michael Roizen, Cleveland Clinic; Dr. Brian Wansink, Cornell University; and Dr. Laura Berman, Northwestern University.

HealthCorps receives no federal funding but relies on state, city, foundation, corporate and individual contributions. For more information, visit

Mikaila Adams, regular columnist for Beyond the Well, is on maternity leave following the birth of her son on April 5. She will return to this page in July.

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