In 2011, several Iowa corporate and community leaders came together to discuss the health of Iowans. They recognized that making progress toward a healthier Iowa was not only critical to the economic vitality of our state, but also to the quality of life for all Iowans. Together, these leaders formed the Healthiest State Initiative with the goal of making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation – with progress to be measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®.
The Healthiest State Initiative works to achieve this goal by shining the spotlight on the overall well-being challenge in our state, and by developing new programs that improve well-being. Our mission is to improve the physical, social and emotional well-being of Iowans with three long-term goals:
- Increase the number of Iowans living and active and healthy lifestyle
- Increase Iowans emotional well-being
- Decrease the number of Iowans who use tobacco
In addition, the Healthiest State Initiative is dedicated to building strategic partnerships with and between other health and wellness organizations supporting health and well-being of Iowans, including programs such as Live Healthy Iowa and the Blue Zones Project.
The Initiative formally launched the “Start Somewhere Walk” in October 2011. Nearly 300,000 Iowans voted with their feet in favor of becoming number one in overall well-being. Each year since then, hundreds of thousands of Iowans have recommitted to our goal through the annual Healthiest State Walk, held the first Wednesday of October in conjunction with International Walk to School Day. You can lead by example in organizing a walk for your community!
The Assessment program provides schools, communities and workplaces with an online tool to self-assess their well-being efforts and suggest recommendations for improvement.
The T.E.A.M. (Teaching Employees Accountability Matters) training program is for employees and first-time supervisors. It features eight modules for each audience with the goal of establishing open communication and respect between the employer and employee by providing them with foundational expectations.
The “Get Your Bib On” program will leverage this insight: people who go to the dentist at least once a year are more likely to feel better about their lives. To encourage dental visits, this program features materials for employers to encourage employees to take advantage of their dental benefits, as well as information for individuals on tips for good oral health.