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Healthiest State Walk planned for Wednesday, Oct. 9

Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds are calling on fellow Iowans to join in a one-kilometer Healthiest State Walk on Wednesday, October 9, as one part of the effort to become the healthiest state in the nation. “Iowans have turned out in extraordinary numbers for the first two Healthiest State Walks,” Branstad said. “The 2013 walk will be a great way to continue the momentum of our rise from 19th to 16th and now to the ninth healthiest state in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. We’re encouraging all Iowans to re-charge and become re-enthused by joining in this symbolic event in 2013.”

Nearly 600,000 Iowans have participated in the Healthiest State Initiative’s walks in 2011 and 2012. This year, many organized Healthiest State walks will be held at noon on October 9, 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.iowahealthieststate.com.

Though the rise from 19th to ninth among all states is a commendable feat, Branstad and Reynolds noted there’s still more work to be done.

“Iowans do well on some aspects of well‐being and not as well on others,” Branstad said. “Working with a team of experts, the Healthiest State Initiative has identified five priority areas most likely to improve our 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 Walk is intended 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, but will place special emphasis on the Focus Five priorities. Progress in these areas will translate to a healthier Iowa and better quality of life for all its residents.”

To help support the 2013 Healthiest State Walk and Focus Five priorities, the walk will have sponsors for the first time. Delta Dental of Iowa will serve as presenting sponsor, while Mercy Health Network and UnityPoint will also serves as sponsors.

“I appreciate the leadership shown by these Iowa companies and their commitment to the health and well-being of Iowans,” Branstad said.

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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