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January 30, 2017

DES MOINES, IA – Becoming the healthiest state in the nation requires all Iowans to work together. A new program, Healthy Hometown℠ Powered by Wellmark, aims to engage communities of all sizes to improve the overall well-being of residents. It offers proven tools that can be used in communities to make long-lasting changes to transform the places where citizens live, work and play by making the healthy choice the easy choice.

“Have you ever noticed how your surroundings affect your activity level?” said Laura Jackson, Wellmark executive vice president and Iowa Healthiest State Initiative board president. “Just think about your normal day. How often are you on your phone or tablet? Is processed food easier to fit into your hectic schedule than a healthy meal? Do you drive to the store rather than walk? Our day-to-day activities and where we live impact our health. In fact, your Zip code may impact your health more than your genetic code.”

Expert assistance available

Communities are not alone. Assistance is available to help communities take the first step in making positive changes. Healthy Hometown experts will work with a community to help identify and prioritize goals. As the community works to implement their goals, Healthy Hometown experts will provide guidance in the implementation of tools where the end result has a long-term impact on the health and well-being of residents. Communities interested in this free assistance can submit a Healthy Hometown Statement of Interest (SOI). Once submitted, a Healthy Hometown representative will contact the individual who submitted the SOI to learn more about the community and ask additional questions to gauge the readiness of the community to make a long-lasting change.

Complete an online self-assessment

Any Iowa community, worksite or school can also complete a self-assessment and receive a report that will provide tools to help make positive changes to where citizens live, work and play. The self-assessment is available at the Healthiest State Initiative websiteExternal Site .

“From the self-assessment to receiving help from experts, Healthy Hometown offers something for everyone,” said Jami Haberl, Iowa Healthiest State Initiative executive director. “The Healthiest State Initiative encourages Iowans to take advantage of these tools to improve their quality of life and help us reach our goal of becoming the healthiest state in the nation.”