DES MOINES —
Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds called on fellow Iowans to join in a one-kilometer Healthiest State Walk on Wednesday, Oct. 3, as one part of an effort to become the healthiest state in the nation.
“Iowans turned out in extraordinary numbers for last year’s kick-off of the five-year Healthiest State Initiative,” Branstad said. “We’re encouraging even more Iowans to join in this symbolic event and to enjoy a short stroll during our state’s beautiful autumn weather.”
More than 291,000 Iowans participated in the Healthiest State Initiative’s “Start Somewhere” walk in 2011. Many organized Healthiest State walks will be held at noon on Oct. 3, but walks are encouraged throughout the day. A kilometer is about 7.5 city blocks, a 12-minute stroll for the average walker. Walkers can sign up for the event at www.iowa healthieststate.com.
In addition to walking, Branstad and Reynolds are encouraging Iowans to add one more wellness activity to their day on Oct. 3.
“Wellness activities can take many forms — from playing outside with your children to eating a healthy meal together as a family to volunteering in your community,” Reynolds said. “We’d love to see even more Iowans walk this year — and more Iowans take wellness steps beyond the walk.”
Branstad and Reynolds last year announced the plan to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation within five years as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. In 2011, Iowa ranked 16th compared to all other states, moving up from the 19th position in 2010.
Branstad and Reynolds noted that the Healthiest State Initiative made good strides in its first year. Along with the large numbers of “Start Somewhere” walkers, 84 Iowa communities indicated an interest in becoming Blue Zones Project demonstration sites and the first four were announced in May. Six additional demonstration sites will be selected and a new program designed for small communities also has been created. The Initiative also helped shine a spotlight on the state’s well-being challenge, highlighted existing programs and developed new programs such as a healthy restaurant entrée pilot program and Laugh Out Loud Day. Recently, the Initiative sponsored the opening ceremonies at the Iowa State Fair and co-sponsored a mobile application to help find healthy food options at the Fair.
“The intent of the Healthiest State Walk is to encourage Iowans to take their own steps that will help us improve our state’s well-being rank,” Branstad said. ”The Healthiest State Initiative this year will continue to champion existing well-being programs with special emphasis on encouraging local walk groups, workplace well-being, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and smoking cessation. Progress in these areas will translate to a healthier Iowa and better quality of life for all its residents.”
The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led, public effort that engages Iowans and their communities throughout the state. It involves individuals, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, not-for-profits and the public sector in a broad-based community-focused effort. For more information, visit www.iowahealthieststate.com.