Health & LivingNews

Healthiest State Annual Walk Promotes Social Connectedness

Iowans statewide participated in the Healthiest State 11th Annual Walk, presented by Delta Dental of Iowa, by walking for 30 minutes on Wednesday with friends, family, neighbors, colleagues and classmates.

“Following more than a year of social distancing, it was encouraging to see Iowans from across the state safely gathering to walk,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa and chair of the walk committee. “Delta Dental is proud to sponsor an event that brings Iowans together to improve their health.”

The 2021 theme “Walk More. Connect More.” highlighted the social benefits of walking. Physical activity ­– like walking – is a healthy habit that Iowans of all ages and abilities can do to improve their health and integrating exercise with social activities has been shown to have a positive impact on overall health.

Russell, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Healthiest State Initiative staff traveled to Waterloo on Wednesday for a walk led there by Mayor Quentin Hart. There was at least one registered walk in all 99 counties across Iowa. To see a full map of all walk events across the state, visit

Throughout October, the Healthiest State Initiative and partner organizations will continue to focus on healthy habits by celebrating Healthiest State Month. Each week will focus on the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! healthy habits:

  • October 4-8: 1 hour or more of physical activity
  • October 11-15: 5 or more fruits or vegetables
  • October 18-22: 2 hours or less of recreational screen time
  • October 25-29: 0 sugary drinks – drink more water!
  • October 28: 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Summit (Virtual)

To learn more about how you can participate or download free resources and celebration toolkits, visit  To register for the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count Summit, visit

School Mascot Challenge winner announced

In the weeks leading up to the Healthiest State Annual Walk, the Healthiest State Initiative hosted the School Mascot Challenge on social media. The 2021 Mascot Challenge winner is IKM-Manning Middle School! The Wolves will receive $1,000 towards a health and wellness project at their school and community. IKM-Manning Middle School is a two-time School Mascot Challenge winner, previously claiming the prize in 2019.

Community Walk Mini Grant recipients announced

Earlier this month, the Healthiest State Initiative and the Iowa Parks & Recreation Association (IPRA) partnered to provide mini grant opportunity for IPRA members to receive funding to support the Healthiest State Annual Walk event and walkability efforts in their community. Winners were recognized at the IPRA Fall Workshop on October 5. Each community will receive $500: Ely, Monticello and Pleasant Hill.


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