Blue Zones Projects bringing longevity to Indiana and beyond

NOW: Blue Zones Projects bringing longevity to Indiana and beyond

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- What is the secret to living to 100 years old? Some who have made it to this milestone might say laugh often, or eat the chocolate! But research shows there is a common theme among these communities with high numbers of longevity. They call them ‘blue zones.’ One new initiative is hoping to bring more of these zones all across the nation. There are only 5 blue zones that exist in the entire world! You can find these communities in Italy, Greece, Costa Rica, California, japan and soon…maybe even Marshall county.

But what even qualifies a blue zone?

Discovered by National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best selling author, Dan Buettner, first discovered blue zones. These 5 specific communities in the world are cultures where residents live significantly longer and healthier lives.  

Most of these communities studied are at or below the poverty line, so what is the secret? The 5 blue zones have 9 things in common, known as the power 9.

The power 9: moving naturally in everyday life, having a sense of ‘purpose,’ daily destressing, eating mostly plant based, a community that cultivates a sense of belonging, prioritizing loved ones, surrounded by healthy living, avoiding over eating, and yes…all of them consisted of wine at 5!

Now, the blue zones project is working with communities across the United States to implement these similar lifestyles. Marshall County, being the first county in Indiana to take on the goal.

“So at Blue Zones, we try to mimic the longest live populations are doing which is lets set up the environment and the lifestyle, for our communities so that the health choices, the healthy nudges, the healthy defaults, the healthy policies, the healthy places are more and more unavoidable. So we can start to get healthier and relations, happier and more production and higher performance without them knowing it is even happening,” says Danny Buettner, Vice President of Blue Zones Project.

Blue Zones project has already started this initiative in 61 other communities. The first one, Albert Lea, Minnesota, reduced health care claims for 49% for city workers and increased life expectancy by 3 years. In Spencer, Iowa, 50% of workers eliminated one disease risk factor.

The project first focuses on people, places and policy. Over the next several days, Blue Zones will meet with over 100 community leaders in Marshall County. During this period, the projects educates, and evaluates the community’s current state of well – being before deciding a plan for community transformation.

The United States spends over 4 trillion dollars in healthcare. Through healthy living and accessibility, this initiative is hopeful to change the country. But it all starts with the community…and its leaders.

Now, this is just the start of a long journey for Marshall County. After learning and brainstorming this week, Blue Zones Project then returns 30 days later to put their plan to the test!

Further Information can be found here.  

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