The Healthier Iowa Coalition is dedicated to creating new policies by working on initiatives to open school facilities to the general public, as well ensuring safe routes to school. Since entering office, Gov. Terry Branstad has made it his mission to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. We are working toward this goal, too. There are pockets of Iowa’s population that simply don’t have access to the facilities necessary to promote a healthy, active lifestyle.That’s why the Open Gym and Safe Routes to School Initiatives are so important. Childhood obesity is a national epidemic that is affecting an alarming number of Iowa’s children. Study after study has determined one of the most effective ways to reduce this number is to increase physical activity. But our children don’t have the same access to physical activity that we did. From dangerous routes to schools to the lack of places to play once the weather turns cold, Iowa’s children need the opportunity to get up and get moving. That’s why the Safe Routes to School and Community Use initiatives are so important.