Healthiest State Initiative recognize communities’ efforts to improve health and well-being
DES MOINES, IA (Nov. 2, 2016) — The cities of Cedar Falls and Waterloo were presented a Healthy HometownSM POWERED BY Wellmark award at the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative Bringing it Home conference on Nov.1, 2016. The award recognizes the Cedar Valley for their dedication and accomplishments toward meaningful health improvement initiatives in their community.
“The Healthy Hometown Founder award celebrates the achievements made in the Cedar Valley,” said Jami Haberl, Iowa Healthiest State Initiative executive director. “Cedar Falls and Waterloo have been a model for other Iowa communities and is an encouraging example of what can be done when the citizens of a community join together to truly transform their environment.”
Some noteworthy achievements in Cedar Falls include:
- Integrating brain breaks in the schools as well as removing pop machines and unhealthy food fundraisers.
- Building a new pedestrian bridge that connected residential areas with retailers, schools and workplaces.
- Achieving a 20 percent increase in volunteering among employees at John Deere PEC.
- Passing land protection policies that pave the way for healthy eating via farmers’ markets and community gardens.
Some noteworthy accomplishments in Waterloo include:
- Logging 3,428 miles by Orange Elementary students during their first year of promoting physical activity through classroom movement and recess.
- Losing a combined 1,661 pounds in one year resulting in 56 employees moving from pre-diabetic to normal range at Bertch Cabinet Manufacturing.
- Constructing a multi-million dollar Highway 63 corridor project’s first phase featuring an impressive two-mile stretch with wide sidewalks, landscaping trees, brick pavers, lighting and benches.
- Creating 10 gardens thought out the city, four of which are school gardens.
Healthy Hometown program available for all Iowa communities
The Healthy Hometown program is available to all Iowa communities ready to take steps to make the healthy choice the easy choice and improve the overall well-being of their communities.
“One of the best parts of the Healthy Hometown program is the ability for Iowa communities to make improvements that are important to them,” said Laura Jackson, Iowa Healthiest State Initiative board president. “The program offers various levels of support — including assistance from experts if they choose — and guides them to existing resources so they can make their hometown an even better place to live.”
There are three ways communities or organizations can get started. The first is an online self-assessment tool for communities to review where they are at today and how they can connect with existing resources to make enhancements. In 2017, two additional options will be available to help communities put a plan in place for either a specific project or a complete community transformation.
More information about the Healthy Hometown program, including the assessment and resources, is available at: www.iowahealthieststate.com.