For over 31 years, rankings of the health of all U.S. states have been calculated and published. Over the years, the methodology has changed and improved. The United Health Foundation now annually publishes the “American Health Rankings.”
The criteria now being used are:
- Behaviors – Alcohol use; drug overdoses; and physical activity
- Clinical Care – Preventable hospitalizations; the number of providers
- Community and Environment – Air pollution, childhood poverty, infectious disease cases
- Outcomes – Heart-related deaths; cancer deaths, other health issues.
- Policies – Immunizations and public health funding
Iowa’s overall ranking among the 50 states is #20. We rank highest in “Policies” at 9th in the country and worst in “Community and Environment” at 27th.
In 2011, then-Governor Terry Branstad challenged Iowans to improve the State’s health by taking part in a “Start Somewhere Walk.” From that was born Iowa’s “Healthiest State Annual Walk.”
This year’s 10th annual walk will take place during the month of October, along with other activities designed by the volunteer advisory board of the not-for-profit, non-partisan “Healthiest State” initiative.
The Annual Walk is an opportunity for your household, school, workplace, community, or organization to join thousands of other Iowans statewide in walking for 30 minutes on the first Wednesday of October, 7. The Iowa Advisory Board has said, “We know that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, your walk event may look different this year. We still invite you to “team up,” whether that means with members of your household, in a smaller group, in a socially-distant fashion or even as a virtual team, and walk with us.”
We will all be walking because it is good for our physical, mental, and emotional health.
In The Mayflower Community, here is our Healthiest State calendar for the month:
- October 5th – 9th. Focus on getting one hour of physical activity each day. Mayflower Community is registered for the Healthiest State 10th Annual Walk on October 7. For the Annual Walk, you can create a team with friends or participate on your own. You can walk, run, or bike (on the workout machines, with assistive devices, etc.). We will turn in our participation for Mayflower Community, including time and miles traveled by our residents, administration, and staff. Go Team MC!
- October 12th – 16th. Focus on eating five fruits or vegetables each day. We will participate in Iowa Local Food Day (https://www.iowalocalfoodday.org/), sponsored by Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
- October 19th – 23rd. Focus on two hours or less of screen time each day. Reduce screen time by reading a book or participate in a program that doesn’t require a screen.
- October 26th – 30th. Focus on drinking no (0) sugary beverages and more water each day. To fuel your body properly, drink plenty of water throughout the day!
We invite you to join with us in your own space to make healthy choices count in October and every other month throughout the year.