Governor Branstad will sign a proclamation Tuesday, October 8, declaring the next day, October 9, as Healthiest State Walk Day in Iowa. This is the third year for the Healthiest State Walk in Iowa, with a total of nearly 600,000 Iowans participating in the 2011 and 2012 walks. A number of walks are scheduled for noon on October 9, but the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) encourages Iowans to make time for a walk at any time during the day.
“The Healthiest State Walk is not designed as a ‘one and done’ event,” said IDPH Director, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. “The October 9th walk should be a starting point and motivation for making time for daily physical activity.” Walking has been shown to help manage weight and improve strength and physical fitness, slow mental decline, improve sleep, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of stroke.
The Healthiest State Initiative was launched in 2011, with a goal of Iowa becoming the healthiest state in the nation by 2016. Since 2011, Iowa has moved from 19th to ninth in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. Along with walking and remaining active, the Healthiest State Initiative has identified five priority areas most likely to improve our state’s ranking:
- 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
- Increase the number of working Iowans who feel their boss treats them like a partner at work
To find an organized Healthiest State Walk near you, create your own event, or simply pledge to walk on your own, visit www.iowahealthieststate.com/healthiest-state-walk.