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More than 298,000 Iowans Walk to Support Healthiest State Initiative

Posted October 10, 2013 in Downtown, Community Web Exclusives

DES MOINES, Iowa – October 10, 2013 – More than 298,000 Iowans affirmed their support for the Healthiest State Initiative by participating in the third annual Healthiest State Walk yesterday.

Wednesday’s reported event participation was slightly higher than the 2011 and 2012 walks and brought the three-year total of reported Healthiest State Walk participation to more than 886,000. Delta Dental of Iowa served as presenting sponsor of the 2013 Healthiest State Walk. Mercy Health Network and UnityPoint also provided sponsorship support.

“As they have during all three statewide walks, Iowans turned out in great numbers to support our effort to become the nation’s healthiest state,” said Ric Jurgens, chair of the Healthiest State Initiative board. “We all recognize that a one-kilometer walk won’t change a person’s health by itself. But the incredible level of participation demonstrates our citizens’ commitment to making tangible steps toward higher levels of well-being.”

In August 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®. Since that announcement, Iowa has moved from 19th to ninth in the well-being rankings.

Jurgens said there’s still more work ahead, however.

“Iowans do well in some aspects of well-being and not so well in others,” he noted. “The Healthiest State Initiative is forging ahead on five priorities most likely to improve the state’s ranking.”

Jurgens said the Focus Five priorities include:

·        Decrease the number of Iowans who smoke.

·        Increase consumption of fruits and vegetables.

·        Increase the number of Iowans who are learning or doing something interesting every day.

·        Increase the number of Iowans who have visited the dentist during the past 12 months.

·        Increase the number of Iowans who feel their boss treats them as 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

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