Healthy Living May Depend on Where You Live

AMES, Iowa  --  When it comes to being the Healthiest State in the Nation, Iowans may find a determining factor in how healthy people are is where they live.

At the annual conference for Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative, leaders discussed ways to make healthy living more accessible.

“People who have access to sidewalks are more likely to be active, it’s fairly simple,” said Philip Boss, of Active Living By Design. “We also know that low-income communities don’t have the same access, so 50% less likely to have a grocery store in your community if you live in a low-income area.”

Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative is working on this issue by launching a program called Walking College. This is a select group of ambassadors from local communities who will work to identify ways to make local communities more walking-friendly.

“The work of the Healthiest State Initiative takes all of us in this room, each and every one of us, as well as the rest of Iowans to work together as a team to reach our vision to become the healthiest state in the nation," said Jamie Haberl, Executive Director of the Healthiest State Initiative. “We really looked at the impact poor health can have on families, communities, businesses, and our state as a whole. Think about how one catastrophic illness can wipe out a family's finances.”