Pella Chronicle


October 14, 2011

Thousands enjoy beautiful weather for the ‘Start Somewhere Walk’

Pella — Perfect weather was seen Friday afternoon for Pella’s “Start Somewhere Walk” that was held in several locations. Almost 4,300 Pella residents, students, teachers and others joined Iowans around the state at noon in a one-kilometer walk.

“The event went really well,” said Scott Johnson, local coordinator. “Everyone was very pleased.”

The Pella Iowa Healthiest State Committee coordinated the walks held throughout Pella.  The committee included members from Central College, the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Pella, Fareway, Hy-Vee, Pella Christian Schools, Pella Community Schools, Pella Corporation, Pella Regional Health Center, Third Church, Work Systems Fitness and Rehab and Vermeer Corporation.  Central College and Third Church hosted starting points for the community walks and the City of Pella assisted with end points at West Market Park and Caldwell Park, where Fareway and Hy-Vee donated bottles of water.  The Pella Community School District made special arrangements and enlisted volunteers to allow students at all locations to participate in the walk.   Pella Corporation, Pella Regional Health Center, Precision Pulley and Idler, Inc., and Vermeer Corporation held walks on their campuses.

According to Pella City Administrative Services Director Jenny Hesseltine, the next step in this effort is to get Pella on the State’s radar as a front-runner in this initiative to support the application to become a Blue Zone. Blue Zones are communities or regions of the world in which people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States as a whole. Wellmark would like to transform Iowa cities and towns into Blue Zones Communities, where people “Live Longer, Better.” Ten communities will be selected by Wellmark based on submitted applications to become Blue Zones with the help of professional consultants.  Part of the application process is getting the whole community on board. Show your support by pledging at  or texting BZP to 772937.  

In early August, Governor Terry Branstad 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 2010, Iowa ranked 19th compared to all other states.

“This Healthiest State Initiative will assist Iowans in learning about and applying proven methods to live longer, happier, and healthier lives,” Branstad said. “We control more than 70 percent of the factors that influence our health. It is within our power to make a positive difference in our lives.” Branstad also noted that addressing comprehensive lifestyle changes could allow the State to redirect as much as $16 billion over the next five years to grow the state economy [versus being consumed by health care ($11 billion) and lost productivity ($5 billion)]. The success of this initiative is critical to the economic viability of the State and translates to a healthier Iowa and better quality of life for all its residents.

The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led, public effort that will engage Iowans and their communities throughout the state. It will involve 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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