Hy-Vee CEO co-chairs Iowa health initiative

Healthiest State Initiative includes efforts by business, individuals

DES MOINES, Iowa — Supermarket chain Hy-Vee is joining an initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016, the company said.

The Healthiest State Initiative will encourage individuals, businesses, organizations and communities to work together in improving state residents' health and well-being. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Iowa ranks 19th in the country.

Hy-Vee CEO Ric Jurgens will serve as 1-of-3 co-chairs of the initiative, along with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield CEO John Forsyth and Doug Reichardt, chairman of the Iowa Sports Foundation and chairman emeritus of Holmes Murphy & Associates, an insurance firm.

The initiative is led by private business and has received endorsements from first lady Michelle Obama and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, who announced the initiative alongside Jurgens and other political leaders.

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