Iowa’s 4th annual Healthiest State Walk will be held next week as part of Iowa’s effort to become the healthiest state in the nation. Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich is serving as the chairman for this year’s event and says they’re aiming for a goal of 500,000 walkers to walk one kilometer on Wednesday, October 8th.

“We’re encouraging everyone around the state of Iowa to grab a friend, grab your family, join a walk and walk 1K,” Rich says. “That’s really a pretty easy deal. It’s 15 minutes of walking that day.” He says there are dozens and dozens of walks organized across the state in every one of the 99 counties. “We called the National Guard out and they’re mobilizing all the troops in all of the 52 armories across the state to lead walks,” Rich says. “The governor will lead a walk that day. A lot of the state reps from around the area will be leading, a lot of politicians are having their supporters walk. Schools around the state are going to have all of their students walk that day as part of National Walk to School Day.”

Nearly 900,000 Iowans have participated in the Healthiest State Initiative’s walks in 2011, 2012 and 2013. This year’s goal is 500,000 walkers, which would make it the largest statewide walk to date. “If you want to join a walk, just go to and join one, start one, get your family out,” Rich says. “Register that you’ve walked and how many people walked so we can reach that 500,000 mark.”

Many organized walks will be held at noon on Wednesday, but walks are encouraged throughout the day. In order for walks to be counted, registration is required. According to the 2013 poll, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Iowa is 10th in the nation when it comes to being physically, emotionally and mentally healthy.

(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)