Iowa: Healthiest State By 2016!

Iowa Roads

I had the opportunity to represent Drake at the Healthiest State Initiative meeting today in Des Moines. If you’re not from Iowa, or if you are but have been under a rock for the past year or so, Iowa is vying for the designation of healthiest state in the nation by 2016. I learned some very interesting things at the meeting today and am really motivated to help make this happen!

Currently Iowa is ranked 16th in the country and we’ve already moved up three spaces since 2010! The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index determines the healthiest state through surveying residents across six dimensions of well-being (life evaluation, physical health, emotional health, healthy behaviors, work environment, and basic access).

Here are a few ways you can help improve Iowa’s rating so we can be number one in 2016:

  • Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day AND encourage those around you to do the same. Iowa currently ranks 46th in the nation for produce consumption. Aim for one serving of fruit and one serving of your veggies per meal to increase consumption.
  • Go to the dentist! Oral health is so important and when you neglect your mouth and teeth, other health issues arise.
  • Don’t light up or if you know someone who smokes, encourage them to quit.
  • Learn something new or interesting every day. Don’t neglect your intellectual well-being as it greatly enhances the overall quality of your life.
  • If you are in a supervisory role at work, encourage those you lead to have a voice and feel like they have a partnership with what they do. Having occupational satisfaction and wellness is so important as we spend so much time and energy on our careers.

Random fun fact I learned at the conference: 29% of Iowans are obese. Colorado is the state with the lowest obesity rates at 18%. Ideally, obesity rates should be no higher than 15%.