Delaware County recently became one of the first two Indiana communities to be recognized as an “Indiana Healthy Community.”

With Indiana being ranked 41st of the 50 states for health by the United Health Council, this is a huge step in the right direction for the Hoosier state.

To achieve the recognition, at least 15 Delaware County employers making up at least 25 percent of the work force needed to provide employee well-being programs.

"A healthy city is one in which citizens have access to basic infrastructure such as clean water, sanitation, and sewage treatment. It is also a place where healthy food is available to everyone, where women and children can walk without fear, and where people can enjoy parks, squares, and other public spaces in safety and comfort," according to United Nations-HABITAT.

Deleware County companies are providing a number of programs for their employees, including exercise classes, active transportation such as walking or biking or even host intramurals.

Jane Ellery, Ball State wellness management coordinator, said that while fitness does play a part, it isn’t the only factor in achieving this award.

“It’s a leadership strategy for a great job and a great life,” Ellery said. "Within the program, parks are improved, socialization is made easier through various activities and co-production is encouraged."

One of the points emphasized is involvement. Making places for people within the community to practice healthy living enhances the environmental stability of a community, she said. 

Many Ball State students and alumni have been involved with the board of advisors. They have completed immersive learning projects with the companies to devise plans on how to promote wellness and even act as wellness instructors within the company programs.

The advisors have also worked with local schools to enact an active transportation day where students are encouraged to ride their bikes or walk to school.

While Delaware County did win the Healthy Community award, Ellery said that Deleware County is still far from being a healthy community.

“Thanks to a shared vision, we are well on our way down a path that points in the right direction. But it could take 50 years to get to that point,” Ellery said.

“We don’t have the best statistics, but if you look at what we’re doing to change the future, you’ll see that we’re on the verge of being a destination community where people will want to live because of what we have to offer.”