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GET MOVING: Group Walks For Health

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Iowans took off across the state on the third Healthiest State Walk. It's a day to get Iowans moving and take steps to a healthier life. It's also part of the movement to become the healthiest state in the nation by 2016.

One group was motivated after the first walk. Joyce Lewis and Connie Helton get together once a week. Lewis says, "I do it every Tuesday, automatically like clockwork."

The gals get together to walk. Hy-Vee Dietitian Anne Hytrek started the group after the first healthiest state walk two years ago. She says, "I wanted to offer something on the east side of the community. And, so I thought, what better way than to start a walking group."

Two to six women walk about two miles together each week. It motivated them to work out on their own other days. And, they're seeing success.

Helton says, "I've lost 40 pounds so far, and it's been about a year and a half."

Lewis says, "I went from 195 down to 172, then I went back up a little bit about 180, something like that, and now I'm still losing."

Walking is a great way to get healthy, but the Executive Director of the Healthiest State Initiative says there are five other steps Iowans need to take to become the healthiest state. Helen Eddy says, "When we started this initiative in August of 2011, we were ranked #19 in overall wellbeing and we moved up to #9, and we still have work to do."

Work includes helping people kick the smoking habit, encouraging Iowans to eat five or more servings of fruit and vegetables at least four days a week, getting people to the dentist, increasing the number of workers who feel their boss treats them like a partner at work, and encouraging people to learn or do something interesting every day. Eddy says, "It has a strong correlation to overall wellbeing. We know that having an active mind actually helps stave off dementia. It's part of a healthy lifestyle.

Helton and Lewis have embraced a healthy lifestyle.  Helton says, "It got me going." Lewis says, "I've learned how to eat healthy. I've laid off the sweets. I don't drink pop that much anymore."

Eddy says the group is forming committees to tackle each of the five issues, and they'll soon be talking to Iowans about taking steps to improve health.