posted on Thursday, October 3, 2019

Healthiest State Month begins with goal-breaking Annual Walk

Focus on healthy habits continues throughout October

 Thousands of Iowans kicked off Healthiest State Month by walking for 30 minutes on Wednesday. Participation in the Healthiest State Annual Walk, presented by Delta Dental of Iowa, spanned all 99 counties. A total of 981 walks were officially registered, surpassing the event goal of 900 walks to celebrate the ninth year of the event.

SEE MORE: See photos from walk across the state

“It’s so encouraging to see so many Iowans take a step in right direction for their health by participating in the 2019 Healthiest State Annual Walk,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa and co-chair of the walk committee. “Keeping this momentum going is key to Iowa becoming the healthiest state in the nation.”


Walkers didn't let a little rain stop them from participating in the Healthiest State Annual Walk event at Western Gateway Park.

Before participating in an Annual Walk event Wednesday in downtown Des Moines, Gov. Kim Reynolds declared October as Healthiest State Month in a proclamation signing. Lt. Governor Adam Gregg participated in walks in Mason City and Corwith. Both encouraged Iowans to celebrate healthy habits all month long.

PARTICIPATE: 4 ways to celebrate Healthiest State Month

“Good health enriches the lives of Iowans and strengthens our communities, and it starts with each one of us creating our own healthy habits,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Your health is Iowa’s health.” (To read the full text of the proclamation, click here.)


Gov. Kim Reynolds officially declared October as Healthiest State Month in a proclamation signing prior to the walk.

Throughout October, the Healthiest State Initiative and partner organizations will celebrate 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count!, a scientifically-proven movement that helps keeps kids healthy by focusing on good habits. Each week will focus on a healthy habit in 5-2-1-0:

  • October 1-4: 1 hour or more of physical activity
  • October 7-11: 5 or more fruits or vegetables
  • October 14-17: 2 hours or less of recreational screen time
  • October 21-25: 0 sugary drinks – drink more water!
  • October 22: 5-2-1-0 Healthy Choices Count! Summit

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 on Oct. 22 at Des Moines University, visit


Annual Walk committee co-chair Terry Rich and Healthiest State Initiative programming/events coordinator Molly Gosselink pose with the Healthiest State Month proclamation.

School Mascot Challenge winner announced

wolvesIn the weeks leading up to the Healthiest State Annual Walk, the Healthiest State Initiative hosted the School Mascot Challenge which in 2019 was expanded to include 64 schools across the state.

We are excited to announce that our 2019 Mascot Challenge winner is IKM-Manning Middle School! IKM-Manning will receive $1,000 towards a health and wellness project at their school and community.