Iowa’s Quest for Health is Harder than Once Thought

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The Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with the vision that every Iowan has the opportunity to live their healthiest life.

The pandemic had many lingering side effects. One of those is loneliness. A little-known fact is that loneliness has such far-reaching consequences that the health impact is comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day, according to one study published in the journal PLOS Medicine.

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Loneliness, coupled with increasing obesity and its detrimental effects on health are making it hard to make solid improvements in Iowa’s overall health. With 37% of our population characterized as obese, employers, especially manufacturers who require more arduous physical demands must step alongside their employees to solve the problem.

In addition to employer support, Iowa Healthiest State hosts annual awards, a Wellbeing Conference, provides the 5210 Network that encourages 5 or more fruits and veggies, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of physical activity, and zero sugary drinks in 85 countries, and provides SNAP recipients with Double Up Food Bucks. Most recently, their work has included their Make It Ok campaign to reduce the stigma around mental illness. For more information about how your organization could get involved, please contact Jami Haberl at 515-650-6854 or email her at

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