November 29, 2015

Healthiest State Initiative brings exercise to the Iowa State Fair

The Iowa State Fair isn’t known for having low-fat, healthy meals, but instead of eating a fried-something on a stick, fairgoers will be offered free fitness classes this year and a high-tech tool to find healthier fair foods. Liz Cox, operations director of the Healthiest State Initiative, says they’re planning a one-kilometer walk next Thursday morning, the opening day of the fair.

“It’ll start in front of the DNR building right at 8:15 in the morning and it will feature some historical high points, items of interest and landmarks along the State Fair Grand Concourse and will end at the Cultural Building which will be the location of the opening ceremonies,” according to Cox.

The fair, she says, is a great place to remind Iowans about the importance of well-being and to provide opportunities to make healthy-minded choices. “We have daily 30-minute fitness classes happening up on Expo Hill,” Cox says. “The State Fair reached out to us and said, ‘We’d like to offer fitness classes,’ and we said, ‘Sure, we’d love to help you out.’ There’s tai chi, there’s Zumba, there’s yoga and there’s even a little boot camp up there.”

Those free classes will start on the first Friday of the fair at 9:30 AM and will be held daily. The fair features nearly 200 food stands and more than 60 items on a stick. There are healthier options that can easily be found, Cox says, thanks to the Healthy Fare Food Finder app. “Not only does the app help you find the healthier food,” Cox says, “but it also tells you how far you need to walk if you should happen to eat something that maybe isn’t on the healthy scale.”

The app is free to download: Cox says she doesn’t expect people to forego all the great food for which the fair is known, but she hopes they can educate people about the importance of food choices — at home, at school, at work and even at the fair.



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