Drs. Bob and Debbie Oro want Healthiest Town in America to be more than a slogan, more than an annual celebration, more than this Saturday's second annual kick-off event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oro Valley Marketplace.
The community's smiling, energetic dentists believe that if any town can actually become the healthiest town in America, it's Oro Valley. The community has climate, the infrastructure of recreation paths and outstanding hiking, world-class resorts, high education, favorable family and household income, community and institutional support, and a recognition that high-quality health comes from within.
"We're serious about this," Bob said. "The government is not going to take care of the health care crisis, the insurance companies aren't going to take care of the health care crisis, the hospitals, the doctors, the pharmaceuticals. We have to realize we have to step up as a community. Nobody knows better what's best for the community and its health care."
Bob and Debbie's son Philip is writing his thesis at Arizona State University on the economics of Healthiest Town in America. It may become a plan for greater implementation.
The work has begun. In its second year, Healthiest Town in America is a "known entity," with widespread community and media attention. "We've got something really to build on now," Oro said.
The Oros, organizer MJ Jensen and others are ready to build … with help. This year, for the first time, Healthiest Town in America is asking for volunteers, people who can help with events and organization to "take us to the next step.
"We're really finding out how committed the community's going to be," Bob said. "It's time, effort and dollars. Can we do this 12 days a year? Can we do this one day a month, with official events each month?" Last year, there were nine events tied to Healthiest Town in America.
Bob and Philip have been working on, and thinking about, the Healthiest Town in America initiative for four years. It germinated when Philip was playing basketball at Canyon Del Oro High School, and his father joined him for early-morning conditioning.
"That really was the inspiration," Bob said. "I had nothing better to do in my life than try to get healthier."
Years later, Bob and Debbie live the lifestyle. They've lost weight. They feel great.
"This is my first year I didn't have to worry about Christmas," Bob said. "I didn't gain a pound. Every year, you do a little more. It doesn't happen overnight."
"It's a whole new body type," Debbie said.
A year ago, Oro Dental Medicine's staff weighed in, and vowed not to gain any weight. They did it. Some, like hygienist Stephanie Bergsma, dropped significant pounds. Bob and Debbie lost a few themselves, and they're now wearing smaller clothes.
They're hopeful Saturday's second kick-off draws a big crowd.
"We're excited," Bob said. "This has been a long haul. The kickoffs, it's a high you get from seeing all of these people coming together, everybody working, like a whole bunch of bees. They get to feed off each other, all the energy.
"It's really a wonderful feeling to just know you're out there, spreading the energy about healthier lifestyles," Oro said.
Healthiest Town in America
Saturday, March 6
Oro Valley Marketplace
9 a.m. — First fun walk/run begins. The walk/run is not timed and is open to anyone at any pace level. Register at the event. First 200 people to register receive free pedometers.
10 a.m. — Celebrity Emcee Erin Christiansen, KGUN 9. Drs. Bob and Deb Oro introduce Lacey Nymeyer, Olympic silver medalist.
10:30 a.m. — Walk/run with Lacey.
Stage activities and audience participation
10:30 a.m.-1:05 p.m., 1:10-1:50 p.m.
1:05 p.m. — Raffle giveaway. Must be present at the event to win.
1:50 p.m. Final raffle prizes. Must be present to win.