Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 21, 2014

The state of health

Initiatives to be showcased Wednesday evening
By David Hotle | Feb 08, 2013

With the statewide push to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation a year old, local organizers have decided to give the 2012 annual report of progress a new look by showing progress instead of just talking about it.
Members of the Healthiest State Initiative, Obesity Prevention Task Force and the SAFE Coalition are holding the first Healthy Community Coalition Showcase from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at JP’s 207. People who have helped to create activities or are involved will give a 10-minute presentation of the various initiatives that have started in Washington County last year.
“The Healthy Community Coalition is an organization of stakeholders in the community who are interested in health,” Washington County Public Health Nurse Lynn Fisher said. “They worked on the community health needs assessment a few years ago.”
The first presentation will be on the Safe Routes to School. Principal Jim Cayton and nurse Jenna Grout of Kalona Elementary will discuss how the activities that are starting this spring will impact the students. Three Washington High School students will discuss what they learned from a presentation on Rachel’s Challenge. The challenge is an anti-bullying initiative sponsored in the name of the first student who was killed in the Columbine High School massacre in Littleton, Colo. Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson will discuss the Walkability Assessment and how it will impact decisions made by the Washington County Council.
Two area principals — Dave Hoffman and Jane O’Leary — will discuss the Student-Led Gardens project that is slated to begin this spring. Mid-Prairie Middle School students will speak about anti-bullying initiatives. Erin Rugg, local co-chair of Healthiest State Initiative, will discuss the impact of the program on the area.
Rugg openly smiled as she discussed the improvements that the Healthiest State Initiative had made over the last year. She said that recently the program has received a $150 grant, which will be used to purchase prizes and awards to give to participating teams.
“Currently we have 50 teams in Washington County for the adult program,” she said.  “There are 357 participants as of yesterday. The activity time has been 1,364 hours. Activity time per team has been 27 hours and 51 minutes. It’s only been a week and a half.”
She said that one of the biggest changes over last year has been in the young people’s program. She said that there are 159 teams made up of 3,164 children. Last year, only 23 young people participated.
The young people record physical activity each week, as well as healthy foods they eat.  
Area food vendors are aiding the effort by offering sales on foods that are the focus for young people each week.

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