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Healthier Iowa Coalition


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.

  • As a federally-funded program, Safe Routes to Schools provides the financial resources to repair sidewalks, hire crossing guards, and remove the barriers that discourage parents from allowing their students to walk to school. Because Iowa has received limited funds, we are encouraging the state legislature to invest $1.8 million to create a state-funded Safe Routes to School program.
  • Studies show when people have access to recreational facilities they are more likely to be physically active. Many schools are reluctant to open their facilities to their communities because liability concerns are a primary challenge to open these doors. We are encouraging the Iowa Legislature to remove barriers to use of school property by clarifying liability protection for schools.

Coalition Partners:

American Cancer Society / American Diabetes Association / American Heart Association / Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa / Child and Family Policy Center / Community Health Charities / Department of Aging / Greater Des Moines Partnership / Healthiest State Initiative / IAHPERD/ IDPH / Iowans Fit for Life / Iowa Bicycle Coalition / Iowa Cancer Consortium / Iowa Department of Education / Iowa Public Health Association / Iowa State Alliance of YMCAs / Linn County Public Health / National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) / Northeast Iowa Area Agency on Aging / Partnership for Better Health / Sodium Reduction Task Force / United Way of Central Iowa/ Des Moines MPO/ Iowa Environmental Council