Ottumwa determined to become its own Blue Zone community

For the second time in a week, Ottumwa was passed-up for a great opportunity.

On Wednesday, city and county leaders were notified that Ottumwa would not be chosen as a Blue Zones community; on Saturday, Ottumwa was not chosen as a host city for the 2013 RAGBRAI route.

Either way, leaders from Ottumwa and Wapello County are determined to improve the health and well-being of its residents.

â??Our committee is very committed to better the health and well-being of our community; and even though we were not selected, we do plan to continue,â?? said Lynelle Diers with the Wapello County Public Health Department. â??Since we do have the Blue Zones blueprint, we plan to use that as our guidance to get there. But, you know with not being selected, we will be able to do it at our own pace and also pick and choose what we feel fits best in this community.â??

The Blue Zones program is apart of Governor Terry Branstadâ??s initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by 2016.

Diers added that the city and county were both on-board with the program, including the University of Iowa and Ottumwa Regional Health Center.

Within the next week, Diers and the Blue Zones committee will be meeting with Blue Zones officials to discuss how Ottumwa can move forward.

Two southeast Iowa cities were chosen to participate in the Blue Zones program, Oskaloosa and Fairfield.