Active Ottumwa


Active Ottumwa started as a community-based research project. It encouraged adults to be more active. Ottumwa community members and the University of Iowa used the latest research to design this project. The research part of Active Ottumwa is done, but the Active Ottumwa program continues. Hy-Vee of Ottumwa and Ottumwa organizations lead the program. Active Ottumwa continues with local volunteers trained as Physical Activity Leaders (PALs). PALs guide and support adults to be physically active. Active Ottumwa is a fun and free experience for everyone. To learn more about the Active Ottumwa program and lessons, learned, check out the 10-part podcast series “A Community on the Move: The Story of Active Ottumwa”.

Ottumwa Community Advisory Board

We thank the Ottumwa Community Advisory Board (CAB) for their work with the University of Iowa Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (PRC-RH) and keeping Active Ottumwa in their community. The CAB was founded in April 2012.  The CAB advised the PRC-RH on projects and activities in their community. These projects responded to health concerns the CAB had. Interviews with community stakeholders helped address such concerns too. The CAB still advises Active Ottumwa.




Why Physical Activity in Ottumwa?

Ottumwa Health Survey

The Ottumwa Community Health Survey took place in spring 2013 and spring 2018 by phone. People from Ottumwa 18 years or older could be surveyed. The surveyors called random phone numbers in the Ottumwa area to get responses. This helped to gather responses that reflected opinions and beliefs of residents throughout the community. Over 1,000 residents took the original survey and 950 residents took the 2018 survey. The 2013 survey showed 27% of people did not meet the recommended level of physical activity and many noted they did no leisure physical activity in a week.

The CAB of Ottumwa and the UI-PRC created a program to get Ottumwa moving and Active Ottumwa began in spring of 2016.

The mission of Active Ottumwa is to support accessible, affordable, and sustainable physical activity programming for Ottumwa adults by building community connections through partnerships leading to a healthy, positive, and vibrant Ottumwa.

Active Ottumwa Logic Model

A logic model explains the resources, activities, products, outcomes, and impact of Active Ottumwa.

Active Ottumwa Timeline

The Active Ottumwa project began in October 2014. Research activities ended September 2019. A timeline of major project milestones is here:

What’s Next for Active Ottumwa?

Hy-Vee of Ottumwa now leads Active Ottumwa. Community groups also support the project. See the Active Ottumwa Facebook page for upcoming events and PAL programs. Soon, the Active Ottumwa model will expand to communities across Iowa. It is now collectively called Active Iowa. The work of Ottumwa community partners set an example for change in physical activity for future Active Iowa sites.