Oelwein hopes to be one of ten "Blue Zones" communities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Oelwein hopes to be one of ten "Blue Zones" communities

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OELWEIN (KWWL) -

Back in August, Governor Terry Branstad announced a statewide, health improvement program.

The "Blue Zones Project" strives to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016. Currently, Iowa ranks 19th.

Ten Iowa communities will be chosen to become Blue Zones Communities.

The community of Oelwein is hoping to be named one of those ten. It's all about changing the overall health within the town.

"We want the easy choice as the healthy choice. So many times you go to the convenience store and the easy choice is the candy bar because it's right there. We're hoping to change things so the apple is there rather than the candy bar," said Nichole Recker.

Nichole Recker and other members of the Oelwein Blue Zones Committee already submitted an application, but support is still needed from community members for Oelwein to be selected as one of the final ten communities.

"Your committing to your community that you're enthusiastic about the project, that you want to be part of it, that you want to help your community to become healthier," said Recker.

So far, Oelwein ranks third in terms of community support, with more than 38 percent.

You just go online and register using Oelwein's zip code.

Many people who've committed to the project workout at the Wellness Center.

"Get use of the indoor track, unlimited fitness classes, we have two different weight rooms and a cardio room," said Recreation and Wellness Facilitator Jessica Burkhart.

Burkhart said it's all about taking small steps to living a healthier life, and you don't have to do it alone.

"It's a good way for people to socialize also. Meet a group of friends and walk or take classes," said Burkhart.

The overall goal of the Blue Zones Project is to assist Iowans in learning and applying proven methods to live longer, healthier lives.

Whether Oelwein is chosen as a final ten community or not, many people are already on the right track.

Applicants will be notified on Friday, February 10th if they're a finalist or not.

Then, between February 27th and March 16th -- in-depth field interviews will be conducted.

To register for your community, click here.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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