Dodge County ranks as one of the healthiest communities in the country

(ABC 6 News) – Dodge County was recognized as one of this year’s top 25 healthiest communities.

According to U.S. News and World Report, Dodge County was ranked number 23 out of 500 in the nation. The cities of Claremont, Dodge Center, Hayfield, Kasson, Mantorville, and West Concord make up its population.

Physical activity and food sustainability remain a part of their goals as a community. Being active comes easy when surrounded by parks, trails, and an upcoming 5K run, but relying on themselves agriculturally also plays a role.

Alicia Schumacher, a health educator, mentioned one of the programs that pushed Dodge County higher on the charts.

"I’d specifically like to mention SHIP, which is the statewide health improvement partnership. And that focuses on providing sustainable healthy eating, active living initiatives within the school, community, healthcare, and workplace settings." Schumacher said.

Many other partnerships, coalitions, and initiatives such as Safety Routes for School, Semcac Food Shelf, the WIC program, Farm to School, and even focus groups contribute to how Dodge County reassesses itself. Especially the Community Improvement Plan, which is sent out every five years to residents, allows for feedback and what the community should work on next.

All the county’s cities have worked together as a whole to achieve a better, healthier community.