Healthy South Dakota is one of the clearest, most comprehensive health initiatives offered today. With sections tailored to attract primarily children or adults, the website includes special links devoted to teens and seniors as well. No one is overlooked, which sends the message that South Dakota is truly invested in the health of all of its citizens. Online tools abound on the health department’s website featuring BMI calculators, get-fit tips, and a personal message from Governor Mike Rounds, calling on South Dakotans to take advantage of their beautiful state and get moving!
South Dakota is the 17th largest state in the U.S. covering over 77,000 square miles, but with only 800,000 citizens, there is ample land for physical activity. Hiking, biking, fishing and other outdoor sports are a great way for South Dakotans to appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds them while staying fit. Hearts N’ Parks is a national, community-based program supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Recreation and Park Association. This innovative program aims to reduce the growing trend of obesity and the risk of coronary heart disease in the U.S. by encouraging Americans of all ages to aim for a healthy weight, maintain a balanced diet, and engage in regular physical activity. The American Dietetic Association is also working with Hearts N' Parks communities in South Dakota to provide expertise on heart-healthy nutrition. It is designed to help park and recreation agencies encourage healthy lifestyles in their communities. Although this program is not unique to South Dakota, South Dakotans have the opportunity to take full advantage of their expansive park system and instill healthy lessons in residents from a young age. The state park events calendar is packed with activities meant to appeal to a wide range of ages, including archery, hunting, and canoeing.
Most South Dakotans are not heart-healthy yet, and in fact, struggle with everything from obesity to alcoholism, but the point is, they are trying to change. The interactive website suggests that South Dakotans are finally putting their health first!