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Iowa Community Transformation

Active Living & Healthy Eating

What's the point in being active?

active living
  • The number of Iowa adults who were above a healthy weight grew by about 36% between 1995 and 2009, compared with a national increase of 32%.
  • In 2009, 49.6% of respondents in Iowa reported that they had participated in some sort of physical activity for exercise during the past month other than their regular job.
  • The percentage of respondents in Iowa reporting they had engaged in moderate physical activity was slightly higher for males than for females.
  • The lowest percent for all age groups considered was for those age 65 years and older (37.5%), while the highest percent was for ages 18 to 24 years (64.8%).
  • The obesity rate among Iowans shows a sharp decrease as household income increases.
  • During the spring 2010, a statewide assessment of 3rd grade children found 37% were either overweight or obese.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. 2010

Timeline of Goals

active living

What's the point in eating healthy?

Woman eating salad
  • Iowa’s fruit and vegetable consumption (18%) falls below the national average fruit and vegetable consumption (24%).
  • Iowa was the 22nd most obese state in the country in 2010.
  • Young adults are consistently least likely to be overweight and obese, while adults of middle age (45-64 years) are most likely to be obese.
  • During the spring 2010, a statewide assessment of 3rd grade children found 37% were either overweight or obese.

Timeline of Goals:

healthy eating

Let's make a change...

Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation (CHANGE Tool)

The Community Health Assessment and Group Evaluation (CHANGE Tool) helps community teams (such as coalitions) develop their community action plan. The tool helps the community team members find and prioritize areas of improvement as well as walking them through the assessment process. With this tool as a guide, community team members can create lasting, community-based improvements that focus on the main causes of chronic diseases and related risk factors.

HealthierUS School Challenge

HealthierUS School Challenge Logo

The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) recognizes schools involved in the National School Lunch Program, which has developed healthier schools by encouraging nutrition and physical activity.

The goal of the HealthierUS School Challenge is to improve the health of the Nation's children by promoting healthier school environments. To help meet the goal, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) identifies schools that have made changes to:

  • improve the quality of the foods served,
  • provide students with nutrition education, and
  • provide students with physical education and opportunities for physical activity.

Nutrition Environment Measures Survey-Vending (NEMS-V)

NEMS-V logo

Nutrition Environment Measures Survey-Vending (NEMS-V) is a tool created to make sure healthy food and beverage choices are available in vending machines. Nutrition choice levels for NEMS-V are based on the Institute of Medicine Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools. Some levels have been changed to support Iowa Healthy Kids Act passed in 2008. Other changes have been made for people older than 18 .

Healthy Eating Success Story

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This success story highlights Mills County's Glenwood Giving Garden.

Live Healthy Iowa

Live Healthy Iowa logo

Live Healthy Iowa, a program of the Iowa Sports Foundation, is a health program that brings together friends, families, businesses, and communities in team-based wellness challenges to promote positive lifestyle change.

Additional Resources

Pick a Better Snack & Act

pick a better snack

Pick a Better SnackTM & Act is a nutrition education and social marketing campaign designed to help children and their caregivers eat more fruits and vegetables by increasing how often they eat fruit and vegetable snacks.


CATCH logo

CATCH, Coordinated Approach to Child Health, is a school program to promote physical activity, healthy food choices, and the prevention of tobacco use in children.

The Importance of Daily P.E. in Iowa Elementary Schools

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This document focuses on the importance of daily physical education class in shaping the health of children. Tips, local school examples, and helpful resources are provided within this publication.

Burn to Learn

01 Burn to Learn

The Burn to Learn infographic highlights that students who earn high grades are almost twice as likely to get regular physical activity as students who get low grades. Find the infographic online at:

Physical Activity for Everyone

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The Physical Activity for Everyone videos provide guidelines and helpful tips on muscle strengthening exercises.

Cultivate Iowa

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Cultivate Iowa is an initiative of the Iowa Food Systems Council's Food Access and Health Work Group (FAHWG) to promote the benefits of food gardening and produce donation to create a sustainable future and healthier communities in Iowa.