The state of Iowa and Drake University have been recognized several times recently in nation-wide rankings on a variety of topics.
Drake was named the third best university in the Midwest, and just days ago Iowa was named the ninth best state for business by a CNBC Special Report.
Now Iowa is working to be recognized once again, and Drake is taking part in this endeavor.
The Healthiest State Initiative is a public initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016. In 2010, Iowa was ranked as the 19th healthiest state in America, but the people leading the Healthiest State Initiative feel that Iowa can improve this ranking.
Drake students and members of the Drake community have the opportunity to become involved with this statewide initiative tomorrow by participating in the “Start Somewhere Walk.” The “Start Somewhere Walk” will raise awareness about the initiative and will encourage people to take the first steps necessary to achieve better health and to help the Healthiest State Initiative reach its goal.
“I think the great thing about having a walk called ‘Start Somewhere’ is a lot of times people have this idea that to be healthy, you have to look a certain way or eat a certain way or exercise a certain way,” said Jana Peterson, Drake’s director of wellness. “You don’t have to revamp your lifestyle, but to make small changes can have a huge impact.”
Unlike walks that are commonly held by organizations, this walk is not in one specific location. The Healthiest State Initiative encourages people to go out and walk wherever they are. Those participating in the informal event will walk one kilometer, or 0.62 miles, in about 12 minutes.
Drake’s wellness program, led by Peterson along with Assistant Director Johanna Determann, is taking part in the event tomorrow by hosting its own “Start Somewhere Walk” around Drake’s campus. Healthy refreshments will be available for students participating in the walk. There will be three different times to participate in the walk: the first is at 10 a.m., the second at 12:15 p.m. and third at 2:30 p.m.
“I didn’t want to offer a walk when students or faculty are in class,” Peterson said. “So hopefully the varying times will allow people to get out and walk and actually start somewhere.”
Several Iowan celebrities have shown their support for the initiative in the past few months by taking part in a public service announcement promoting the campaign including Natasha Kaiser-Brown, a U.S. Olympic silver medalist and Drake’s head track and field coach. She will also participate in Drake’s “Start Somewhere Walk.”
Not only is the event beneficial to get people up, moving, and working to make Iowa the healthiest state, but the initiative is also keeping track of teams and of numbers of people participating in the walk in an attempt to break a world record. Teams and those participating in the walk are encouraged to register online so that organizers can keep track of how many people will participate.
Canada holds the current world record for participants in a simultaneous one kilometer walk with 231,635 walkers in 2007. The goal of the Healthiest State Initiative is to have over 250,000 walkers in the state participate in the “Start Somewhere Walk” in order to break the record.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge for college students, but the “Start Somewhere Walk” along with Drake’s wellness program is aimed to encourage students to start living in healthier ways.
“I definitely thought it was important for Drake to be a host site for this walk because building a culture of health and wellness is very important,” Peterson said. “If the state of Iowa is trying to do this, then why not do it here at Drake to help the state become even healthier.”
S.H.A.P.E. Supporting Healthy Activity and Promoting Exercise is a program that rewards you for the activities you do daily through a points system where you can earn prizes.
Move More If you attend 20 group exercise classes each semester, you can earn a T-shirt and one lucky winner will receive an iPod Touch
Want to get in shape? Check out these awesome options here at Drake:
Wellness Library Located in the Wellness Center, the Wellness Library has a variety of books, cookbooks and group exercise videos to check out
Pace the Nation If you’re an avid walker, contact Johanna Determann (x4627) to join this walking program that “rewards you for every step you take.”
Wellness Lunch Series Attend a semesterly lunch series that is open to students, faculty, and staff. RSVP on BlueView to get a free lunch!
Healthiest State Initiative
Start Somewhere Walk Oct. 7 is the Healthiest State Initiative’s big kick off. The initiative is starting with a kilometer walk, which will be done as a state. For 12 minutes, the whole state of Iowa will walk 0.62 miles. You can register a group to walk online at www.iowahealthieststate.com.
The Blue Zones Project The Blue Zones Project is a community-based initiative, bringing experts to 10 Iowa communities within the next five years to better the well-being of Iowans across the state. Experts, working with local leaders, will help implement a plan to change Iowa communities so that residents will live healthier and longer lives.
For more information, check out the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative at www.iowahealthieststate.com.