Community members seek to create healthy living vision

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Community members met on May 20 at the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics to finalize a health and well-being vision for Guttenberg. From left are Mandy Ludovissy, Austin Coon, Wellmark representative Aaron Swanson, City Manager Denise Schneider, M.J. Smith, Emily Sadewasser, Ashley Christensen, Amy Speed, Tim Ahlers, Mayor Bill Frommelt, and Wellmark representative Mary Lawyer. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

A selection of community members were invited to meet with representatives from HealthyHometownSM powered by Wellmark on Monday, May 20, at the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital in the education room. 

The 10-member committee met to finalize a health and well-being vision for Guttenberg, and to discuss current community health improvement initiatives, identify and prioritize tactics leading to vision, and organize the gathered information to create a successful initiative. 

Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics Foundation and Marketing Director Amy Speed welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Aaron Swanson and Mary Lawyer, representatives of Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark.

Swanson told the group, "I was first contacted by your city manager inquiring about creating a master plan for building a healthier community."

Lawyer explained to the group the importance of building a healthy community and its relationship to healthy economic development. "Your zip code can impact your health more than your genetic code. Having access to healthy food, a good social environment and easy access to healthy day-to-day activities can be your greatest healthy living asset," she said.

She went on to say, "Americans eat 600 more calories per day than we did in 1970. We move less, our social interactions consist of more screen time and less face-to-face time." 

Two out of three Iowans are overweight or obese. This statistic increases our risk for chronic disease; one in eight will be diagnosed with diabetes, one in four will suffer from hypertension and one in four will experience some form of heart disease.  

Swanson and Lawyer asked committee members:  How would you define your ideal community? What would others feel or experience when they are in your community? Is Guttenberg a place that encourages physical and social activity? Are there healthy choices available in restaurants, shops and markets? 

They posed the question: What can you do to make your community a healthier place to live, work and play? 

Those attending the meeting were asked to break down into three smaller groups — eat well, move better, and feel better — to discuss our community's current commitment to improved healthy living and to target areas that are lacking in direction.

The information discussed in the breakaway groups was then presented to the group as a whole and placed in order of impact importance and ease of implementation.  

The assembled ideas will be reviewed by the Healthy Hometown team and put into an effective long-range plan to steer our community on a course of healthier living, an increased quality of life and greater economic stability.  

Healthy Hometown  representatives will return to our community on Aug. 5 to conduct a walking audit to design a route for the committee to focus on.   

Committee members and representatives from the program will work together to create an evidence-based program that will help put Guttenberg's healthy living footprint headed in the right direction, so our community can eat better, move more and feel better. 

For additional information on  Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark go to: or

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