Skip to main content
Blue @ Work

Gather healthy inspiration from these nine communities

Learn how to make a difference.

Obesity rates in the U.S. are at an all-time high. Nearly 40 percent of American adults are overweight. And, employers are becoming concerned. Not only is an employee’s overall health and well-being impacted by poor nutrition and a lack of exercise, their productivity and engagement at work are affected, too.

Let’s put this in perspective. More than 1 in 3 adults is considered to be obese. At a company of 450 employees, according to the statistic External Site, about 150 of those employees will be obese.

That’s 150 employees who are feeling the mental and physical effects of the disease of obesity. But, how can you help?

Hint: It can start right in your workplace’s local community!

The difference a healthy community can make

Did you know that your employee’s ZIP code can affect their health more than their own genetic code? Your employee’s surroundings can directly impact their health and well-being. Between work, children, and other commitments, your employees may feel trapped into thinking there isn’t enough time in the day to make the healthy choice.

That’s where Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark comes into play. Healthy Hometown works with communities, at no cost, to identify ways to make positive, lasting changes that enhance well-being. It’s already working with dozens of communities across Iowa and South Dakota to make our communities even better places to live, work and play. And, on Feb. 7, 2019, nine Iowa communities will be recognized for the progress they made last year.

Iowa's 2019 Healthy Hometown Community Award Finalists


Expanded the Algona Recreational Trail system with a 1,500-foot extension to connect the southeast side of the city to the trail.

Try it!

Encourage your employees to get up and get moving throughout the day. Whether that movement comes from walking meetings, attending classes at your onsite wellness facility or nearby gym. Employees who move more throughout the day tend to be more productive. Opens in a new window


Caring Hands Edible Orchard added 20 raspberry bushes to their orchard in an accessible area where visitors are regularly seen harvesting fruit.

Try it!

Encourage employees within your office to share fruits and vegetables at work, or to bring in healthy snacks to potlucks and team gatherings.

Cass County

Offered more than 40 physical activity programs in the past year, benefiting more than 660 residents.

Try it!

Start a lunchtime walking or stairs-taking group that meets two to three times weekly for 10-15 minutes.


Through the Let’s Live Healthy Clinton Area Initiative’s donation gardening program, 11,320 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables have been donated through seven different produce distribution sites.

Try it!

There are so many organization within your community that are looking for food donations—especially fresh fruits and vegetables. Help you and your employees feel better by hosting a food drive for those in need.


Installed a basketball court at their City Park to encourage residents to be physically active.

Try it!

When the weather gets warmer, encourage your employees to take a break outdoors by using local parks and trail systems.

Forest City

Began implementing several recommendations from their Healthy Hometown walking audit report including: painting crosswalks and the installation of a temporary parklet, which is a small seating area or green space that provides a relaxing place to sit and talk outdoors.

Try it!

Remind your employees to take advantage of their breaks and the importance of getting fresh air or giving your brain a break.


500 elementary school children participated in a two-week fresh fruit and vegetable taste testing and nutrition education curriculum.

Try it!

Do you think your employees would benefit from a nutrition education course? Consider reaching out to your cafeteria vendor, a local dietitian or local grocer to help employees learn more about healthy eating and where to find it.

If you don’t have the resources, provide a ‘Recipe of the Week’ in the break room. Find some recipe inspiration here Opens in a new window.

Mason City

Fifty-one individuals and 11 worksites participated in the North Iowa Fresh (NIF) Bounty program that delivers local, farm-fresh produce along with recipes to participants.

Try it!

If you have employees in your office who are interested in receiving more fresh fruits and vegetables, check to see if there is an opportunity to create an employee-only garden. Additionally, if an employee-only garden isn’t an option, consider researching different Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs within your community to receive plenty of fruits and vegetables!

Sergeant Bluff

Physical activity programming was expanded to provide more programming for seniors and to provide more opportunities that meet the needs and interests of all residents.

Try it!

Encourage employees to take stretch breaks in an effort to help them to stand Opens in a new window and relieve their eyes from the computer screen!

Think your community can benefit?

Learn how Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark Opens in a new window can provide expert assistance to help your community eat well, move more and feel better. Questions? Email us Send Email for more information.

Related Articles