Well-being improvement initiative applies secrets of longevity at community level
Statewide well-being improvement initiative Blue Zones Project® Oregon is accepting applications through August 26 from communities across the state interested in implementing a proven well-being model, designed to make healthy choices easier where people live, work, learn, and play. Details and selection criteria can be found at bluezonesoregon.com. The successful applicant community will be announced late fall.
Blue Zones Project focuses on changing environments, policies, and social networks to improve the well-being of residents, lower healthcare costs, power productivity, and increase civic engagement. The initiative works in partnership with community leaders, businesses, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, faith communities, public bodies, and others to optimize the settings where people spend most of their time.
In addition to hiring local staff, the newly selected Blue Zones Project community will receive assessment, planning, and reporting support; access to policy experts and best practices as well as tools and materials for implementing the program; and support to engage the community through marketing, events, and public relations. Communities that are Blue Zones Project Demonstration Sites work toward earning Blue Zones Community® certification.
“Driven by each community’s goals and vision, Blue Zones Project has inspired significant well-being results in 27 sites across the country, including Klamath Falls, Oregon,” said Aaron Patnode, Blue Zones Project Oregon executive director. “Building off the success of the Klamath Falls initiative, we are excited to be able to offer this opportunity to a second Oregon community.”
Brought to Oregon in 2015 by Cambia Health Foundation in support of Oregon Healthiest State, Blue Zones Project applies a cross-sector approach to health and well-being transformation.
“We are proud to support the Blue Zones Project and Oregon Healthiest State, which inspire people to lead health transformation in their communities,” said Peggy Maguire, president and board chair, Cambia Health Foundation. “This aligns with our goal to personalize and simplify health care so people are at the center of driving change and creating the kind of experience we want for ourselves and our families.”
In an effort led by hundreds of community leaders and advocates, last summer Klamath Falls became Oregon’s first Demonstration Site.
“Klamath Falls has struggled for years with low health rankings and a sluggish economy, but we’ve been working hard to change that,” said Klamath County Commissioner and Blue Zones Project Klamath Falls Co-Chair Kelley Minty Morris. “As Oregon’s first Blue Zones Project Demonstration Site, Klamath Falls is seeing amazing results already. Whether it’s increasing access to nutritious food, connecting trails and sidewalks, or transforming the places people spend the most time, Blue Zones Project is about building a sense of pride, creating more economic opportunity, and improving quality of life.”
To date, more than a dozen communities from across the state have indicated early interest in becoming Oregon’s second Blue Zones Project Demonstration Site. Interested communities and community champions can go to bluezonesoregon.com to learn more about the application process. For more information about Blue Zones Project, go to oregon.bluezonesproject.com.
In 2009, scientists identified five Blue Zones areas around the world where residents live longer, healthier, happier lives. National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner documented these findings in his New York Times-bestselling book, “The Blue Zones—Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.” This research, coupled with a 15-year longevity study, helped develop Blue Zones Project, a community transformation program that delivers proven tools and resources to create new Blue Zones Communities across the United States. The Blue Zones Project Oregon initiative follows successful examples set by Albert Lea, Minnesota; California’s beach cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach; and 15 cities in Iowa. Currently, 27 communities across seven states are Blue Zones Project Demonstration Sites or certified Blue Zones Communities.
About Blues Zones Project by Healthways
Blue Zones Project® by Healthways® is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy, and social networks. Established in 2010, Blue Zones Project is a partnership between Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY, healthways.com), the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions, and Blue Zones®, LLC, a company that provides education on key learnings from the world’s best practices in longevity and well-being. Blue Zones Project is inspired by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author who identified five regions of the world—or Blue Zones—with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older. Blue Zones Project incorporates Buettner’s findings and works with cities to implement policies and programs that will move a community toward optimal health and well-being.