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Getting healthy at the Iowa State Fair? Yes, it’s possible

Walking between vendors eating fried food on a stick may be the most popular activity at the Iowa State Fair, so this year, the Healthiest State Initiative is offering fairgoers free fitness classes and a tool to find healthier food alternatives.

New this year, the Healthiest State Initiative’s Fitness on the Hill offers a range of 30-minute fitness classes, from boot camp workouts to tai chi, yoga and Zumba®, on Expo Hill every day at 9:30 a.m., beginning Friday, Aug. 8. Fairgoers can show up for classes with no sign-up necessary. Visit iowastatefair.org/daily-events/daily-schedule/ for more information and the daily class schedule.

“The Iowa State Fair is a great time to remind Iowans about the importance of well-being and provide opportunities to make health-minded choices,” said Liz Cox, operations director for the Healthiest State Initiative.

Food is one of the most popular attractions at the Iowa State Fair, hosting nearly 200 food stands and more than 60 items on a stick. There are healthier options that can easily be found, thanks to the Healthy Fare Food Finder app at data.desmoinesregister.com/foodfinder/.

In support of the Healthiest State Initiative, the app was developed by the Des Moines Register and ISU Extension and Outreach. It helps fairgoers find vendor menus and nutrition information, search for healthy food and events, and even calculate physical activity needed to burn calories consumed at the fair.

“We don’t expect people to forego all the great food for which the fair is known,” noted Cox. “We aim to educate people about the importance of food choices – at home, at school, at work and even at the fair – and hope they consider the healthier options.”

Fairgoers can also stop by the Healthiest State Initiative booth at the Varied Industries Building to participate in a scavenger hunt, play the Hy-Vee NuVal® Spin to Win game for prizes and register for the Healthiest State Initiative 1K Walk on Oct. 8.

Nearly 900,000 Iowans have participated in the Healthiest State Initiative’s walks over the past three years. This year, many organized Healthiest State walks will be held at noon on Oct. 8, but walks are encouraged throughout the day. A kilometer is about 7.5 city blocks, a 12-minute stroll for the average walker. For more information, visit iowahealthieststate.com.

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