Do you love your hometown? It's probably where you've made a home and countless memories, spent time with friends and those you love. Maybe you've even raised your family there.
But have you ever wanted to make it better? Have you ever thought about joining with your neighbors to make your hometown a place where it's easy to make healthier choices?
Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark works with people just like you to identify things you can do to help your community help residents in the areas of eating well, moving more and feeling better.
Six Iowa communities made amazing progress in 2017, and they were recognized for it. On Feb. 15, 2018, the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative External Site awarded the first Healthy Hometown Healthy Community Award to three of the following communities. Here are the highlights of all the communities honored for their efforts in 2017.
Healthy Hometown 2018 Healthy Community Award nominees
- Created and sustained a school-based garden, as well as curriculum around it. Students grew lettuce in garden pots and were able to take home the food they grew.
- All third graders received walking/biking safety instructions and a bike helmet.
- Established a worksite wellness coalition to improve the health of employees.
- Made changes to the local farmers' market, like accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Payments, establishing a free shuttle for one area of town and donating fresh produce to a food-rescue program.
- Implemented healthy concession stand options.
- Held wellness talks, volunteer fairs, networking and other events to encourage healthy happy hours.
- Added a water bottle filling station at City Hall.
- Expanded and improved places for physical activity, like interactive playground equipment, newly-resurfaced basketball courts and turf for soccer fields.
- Enhanced shelter areas and added places for people to gather to encourage get-togethers.
- Expanded community gardens to double the number of families gardening.
- Implemented anti-bullying policies and programs.
- Started the Holiday Harvest Market to promote locally and regionally-grown foods.
- Harvested 11,000 pounds of produce by establishing community gardens for plot rental or public access.
- Encouraged biking and walking by establishing a bike share program, installing bike racks and walking/biking paths, and providing walking/biking safety tips for students.
- Developed more places for community members to gather.
- Created and sustained a school-based garden with curriculum at three schools and several day cares. Some worksites now have a space to grow food, too.
- Improved health food options and pricing in two hospitals and one college.
- Completed two safe routes-to-school plans and started six trail expansion projects.
Get started in your own community today
Being a healthy hometown is about more than organizing a 5K or adopting the latest and greatest diet fad. It's about creating adoptable changes to the built environment to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Wondering how to get your community involved? Start here to learn more about the program.