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The Hawkeye State is in Good Health

Good health is achievable in Iowa, with its numerous healthy eating options, active lifestyle environment and quality health care.

By Lindsey Hyde on January 3, 2021

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Iowa / Kathryn Gamble

Iowa not only boasts numerous ways for people to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle, but it offers access to high-quality medical care.

Ounces of Prevention

As we have all heard, your health has a lot to do with what you consume and your activity level. Opportunities to make healthy choices in both realms abound in Iowa.

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Iowa / Stefan Quinn Kirikpatrick/Visit Quad Cities

In fact, residents can easily get their hands on fresh, locally grown produce, as farmers markets are an Iowa staple. In Council Bluffs, the farmers market draws attendees to Bayliss Park every Thursday evening between May and September, offering fresh fruits and vegetables, farm-raised products, and cuisine that’s both delicious and nutritious.

“I think food from farmers markets is the best food out there that you can have for yourself and your family, just in terms of trying to stay healthy,” says Claire Creason, an Iowa resident and gym manager of Climb Iowa Grimes. 

For those interested in an active lifestyle, there are ample year-round options across the state. In the spring, summer and fall, you can practice your swing at one of Iowa’s many golf courses, including Harvester Golf Club in Rhodes, a top pick for public courses in Iowa in 2019 by Golf Digest.

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Iowa / Photo Courtesy of Iowa South

Parks are an Iowa staple – there are more than 880 of them in the state, such as Walnut Woods State Park in West Des Moines, which offers hiking, canoeing and kayaking, among other activities.

During the winter, try Mt. Crescent Ski Area in Honey Creek, which offers a variety of slopes for beginners and seasoned skiers alike.

“Anytime somebody can connect with the outdoors in their own backyard, it significantly increases their quality of life,” says Josh Shipman, manager of Walnut Woods State Park.

Get Outside in Iowa

For those with a bit more of an adventurous streak, free fall 28 feet per second on the Lost Soul Falls waterslide at Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo, skydive with Accelerated FreeFall in Des Moines or embrace your inner spider at Climb Iowa – Grimes, an indoor climbing gym.

“A lot of people like to climb just because it’s such a fun activity, and then as a result of climbing, you’re also working out your whole body. You don’t need to have a plan in place where you’re checking off that you did your core, your legs, your arms and your cardio; it’s just almost all-encompassing,” Creason says. “It’s also very good for you mentally, as well, in that there is a lot of really good community here.”

Cedar Rapids
Courtesy of Mercy Medical Center

Top Care

While Iowa has numerous ways for folks to stay healthy, the state also offers several highly regarded, nationally ranked hospitals, and Iowans receive access to quality care at a lower cost. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranks Iowa fourth among states for health care access. Medical facilities available to residents include:

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, which offers more than 40 locations throughout the state; 

MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center, which made the Becker’s HealthCare 100 Great Hospitals in America list in 2020 for the second consecutive year;

Iowa is Future Focused

UnityPoint Health – Des Moines, which offers everything from diabetes education to orthopedic surgery to wound healing; and

Mary Greeley Medical Center, a 220-bed hospital that provides high quality, cost-effective services that advance the health of those in central Iowa.

These high-quality care options, coupled with the numerous opportunities residents have to stay healthy and fit, are allowing Iowans to live healthy, flourishing lives.

If you’d like to learn more about Iowa, check out the latest edition of This is Iowa

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