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Area Healthiest State Walk set for Oct. 9

Published: Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST

Newton residents are invited to join thousands of other Iowans in a one-kilometer Healthiest State Walk at between noon and 1 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9. Local walkers will meet at the Newton Hy-Vee.

State organizers hope to continue the momentum of Iowa’s rise from 19th to 16th and now to the ninth healthiest state in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.

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.iowahealthieststate.com.

“Iowans have demonstrated their extraordinary support of the Healthiest State Initiative with the first two Healthiest State walks, which attracted nearly 600,000 participants,” said Jenny Thompson, local coordinator. “By itself, of course, a one-kilometer walk is not enough to change the health of the state, but we’re encouraging even more residents of the Newton area to join in this year’s event and maintain our momentum toward becoming the healthiest state.”

In 2011, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds 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, up from the 19th position in 2010. The state moved up to ninth in 2012.

While progress has been made, there’s still work to do. Working with a team of experts, the Healthiest State Initiative has identified five priority areas most likely to improve the state’s ranking.

The Focus Five priorities include:

• Decrease the number of Iowans who smoke,

• Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables to five or more servings daily at least four days a week,

• Increase the number of Iowans who are learning or doing something interesting every day,

• Increase the number of Iowans who have visited the dentist in the last 12 months, and

• Increase the number of working Iowans who feel their boss treats them like a partner at work.

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.

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