Healthiest State Initiative Announces Winner Today

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Friday morning we will find out the winners of the Healthiest State Initiative Award.

The award recognizes individuals, schools, and organizations throughout the state for their work on improving the health and well-being of Iowans.

The Healthiest State Initiative received more than 100 applications.

They narrowed it down to 18 finalists which included groups from the Cedar Rapids area.

Right now, the 2016 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index ranks the state at #19 for physical, emotional and mental health.

The Healthiest State Initiative is a non-profit organization launched back in 2011 trying to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation.

Since then they've been able to help families in need receive healthier food options and help schools make healthier food choices for their students.

The director of the organization tells us they've even had a number of schools get involved.

"We have a lot of the schools are starting to look at you know how can we do rewards differently so a lot of times we've done them based on food so instead maybe we pick other ways to reward kids verses you know breaking in the cupcakes and the candy and the high sugar stuff," says Jami Haberl, the Director of the Healthiest State Initiative.

They've already helped people figure out how to start things like community gardens or annual walks.

They want to encourage other schools, people and workplaces to become healthier Iowans.

"If we have healthy people, we have healthy communities, we have a healthy economy and so workplaces want to have healthy people because that means you have productive people, you know we want our kids to be healthy so that they can live, they can learn and they can play and they can grow into adults that are healthy as well," says Jami Haberl, the Director of the Healthiest State Initiative.

The finalists in the five categories include:

Individual:Angela Drent, Sioux CityAshley Christensen, DecorahErin Drinnin, Maxwell

Community:Ames Cedar RapidsCliveHarlanMason City Sioux City

Schools: Fairview Elementary, Grinnell Pierce Elementary, Cedar Rapids

Large workplace:Des Moines University, Des MoinesKemin Industries, Des MoinesMeredith Corporation, Des MoinesUniversity of Iowa, Iowa City

Small workplace:Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health, Mason CityMatthew 25, Cedar RapidsThe Foreign Candy Company, Inc., Hull

Winners receive a cash prize to continue their mission.We'll update this list with the winners at 9 a.m.

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