Help Now to Make the Iowa Great Lakes a Blue Zones Community
In August, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad announced a plan to make Iowa the Healthiest State by the year 2016 as measured by the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index®. The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately- led, publicly endorsed effort that will engage citizens throughout the state to improve their overall health and well-being.
According to the 2010 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, Iowa currently ranks as the 19th healthiest state in the nation. Although that puts Iowa in the top half, there is room for improvement. Today, Iowa scores well on emotional health, physical health and access to basics such as safe surroundings, financial resources, strong community and health care services. Progress needs to be made on healthy behaviors such as exercise and eating habits, as well as improving overall work environments.
An exciting component of this initiative is the vision to transform 10 Iowa communities into Blue Zones Communities, which are the healthiest, happiest, longest-living cultures on earth. A Blue Zones collaborative is going to give $50 million collectively to these 10 communities to help transform them into Blue Zones using evidence-based, systematic, long-term changes. Our community would like to be selected as one of these 10 Iowa communities, to ultimately positively impact all of Dickinson County. There are two vital ways you as an individual, and “we” as a community, can demonstrate our commitment to this initiative and increase our chances of being selected.
First, the support of every citizen in Dickinson County is very much needed, in the form of a signed and submitted pledge. There are three ways to do this:
1. Go to www.bluezonesproject.com and complete and submit the short “I am a citizen” pledge form to show your support. On the bottom of that web page, you can also see how all communities in Iowa rank in being selected as one of the 10 Blue Zone Communities.
2. If you do not have access to the internet, pledge forms are also located at Lakes Regional Healthcare and at the Bedell Family YMCA. Staff at these locations will make sure your pledge is submitted to the Blue Zones Project.
3. Text “bzp” to 722937.
Also, be sure to encourage every person in your family and all your friends, neighbors, and co-workers to submit a pledge form. Every vote counts, and we want to be selected as a Blue Zone Community!
Second, on October 7, Iowa is kicking off the Healthiest State Initiative by walking one kilometer together as a state. Our community is also going to participate in this event by having a community-wide “Start Somewhere Walk” at noon that will be held at the sports field at the Bedell Family YMCA. The walk is only one kilometer (.62 miles) and will likely take only 12 to 15 minutes to accomplish. It’s going to be a fun event. Tents will be set up with vendors providing water and KUOO’s Campus Cruiser will be in the center of it all, entertaining participants with music and a live Get Up and Go Show. Everyone is encouraged to attend this event. As more people attend, the greater our chances of being selected as a Blue Zones Community.