Last year on Oct. 7, more than 291,000 Iowans from all 99 counties took the first steps to better health.
They took 470,282,412 steps, burned 14,628,481 calories and walked 180,000 miles as part of the "Start Somewhere" walk.
Now, a group of state business leaders and elected officials that sponsored the 2011 endeavor are challenging more Iowans and Marshall County residents to participate in the 2012 Healthiest State Walk Oct. 3.
Shown from this Oct. 7, 2011 photo are a group of Hy-Vee employees and Marshall County residents marching toward the Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA’s Cultural Center as part of the 2011 statewide “Start Somewhere Walk” designed to promote fitness. Marshall County residents will have the opportunity to again join fellow Iowans in walking one kilometer Oct. 3.
The task: eventually make Iowa the healthiest state in the union. And that can be gradually attained by walking one kilometer (7.5 blocks) at public settings or on their own.
Marshalltown has three sites to participate.
Region VI Planning Commission/People Rides at 903 E. Main St. are hosting walkers beginning at 11:30 a.m.
IF YOU GO ...
What: Healthiest State Walk 2012
When: Oct. 3
Where: Participants may meet at Region VI Planning Commission/People Rides at 11:30 a.m., or at Marshalltown's Hy-Vee and Woodbury School at noon to walk one kilometer (7.5 blocks) to designated points. Residents not able to attend the public events are encouraged to walk on their own at home, work or other locales any time of the day.
Why: Join fellow Iowans in an effort to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.
Marshalltown's Hy-Vee, 802 S. Center St., and Woodbury Elementary School, 8 N. Seventh Ave., are hosts, starting at noon.
Hy-Vee will provide bottled water and fruit at those locations.
"Iowans showed their extraordinary support of the Healthiest State Initiative in 2011," said Carol Hibbs, local coordinator and Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA CEO. "By itself, of course, a one-kilometer walk is not enough to change the health of the state, but we're encouraging even more residents of the Marshalltown area to join in this year's event and maintain our momentum toward becoming the healthiest state."
One Marshalltown worker understands the message.
"I'm all for what the state is trying to accomplish," said Lisa Gassman of Montezuma and administrative assistant for the Marshall County Board of Supervisors. "I participated last year and plan to do something in a group or on my own this year."
In addition to overall fitness, this year's initiative is encouraging active walk groups, workplace well-being, consumption of fruits and vegetables, and smoking cessation.
Walking is only part of the fun.
Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds are encouraging Iowans to add one more wellness activity to their day Oct. 3.
"Wellness activities can take many forms - from playing outside with your children to eating a healthy meal together as a family," said Branstad.
The healthy state initiative is a privately led, public effort that engages Iowans and their committees throughout the state. It involves individuals, families, businesses, faith-based organizations, not-for-profits and the public sector in a broad-based community-focused effort. Visit iowahealthieststate.com