The Well-Being Journal

Insiders: Blue Zones Project™

Jennifer Rudloff

According to the 2010 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, Iowa currently ranks as the 19th healthiest state in the nation. Although that puts Iowa in the top half, there is room for improvement. Today, Iowa scores well on emotional health, physical health and access to basics such as safe surroundings, financial resources, strong community and health care services. Progress needs to be made on healthy behaviors such as exercise and eating habits, as well as improving overall work environments.

Enter The Blue Zones Project: a public/private collaboration between Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Healthways to help make Iowa #1 in the nation for well-being as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index. In these video's John Forsyth, Chairman and CEO of Wellmark, and Dan Buettner, Author of Blue Zones, talk about this landmark initiative.

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Topics: Well-Being In the News Dan Buettner Health Community Well-Being Index Healthiest State Wellness Healthways Iowa Government Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Zones Project

Keys to Longevity: Environment & Community

Jennifer Rudloff

Internationally recognized explorer and New York Times best selling author Dan Buettner has traveled the world in search of the worlds best practices in health, longevity, and happiness. In this video series, Dan Buettner shares bits of wisdom that provide the keys to living happier and healthier longer.

Dan is putting his findings to work. Since January 2009, Buettner has led a successful project in Albert Lea, Minnesota which has helped to implement environmental and social changes that improve quality of life and life expectancy. In March 2010, Healthways entered into a strategic partnership with Buettner's Blue Zones to ignite and lead a broad scale, city-by-city movement to create healthier, happier, and more productive citizens. We immediately got to work, and in December we launched the Healthways | Blue Zones Vitality City initiative in The South Bay Beach Cities of Los Angeles. And today, Iowa Governor Terry Branstand announced the Blue Zones Project as a significant part of Iowa's Healthiest State Initiative.

How does your community contribute to your well-being?

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Dan Buettner Health Community Vitality City Longevity Wellness Healthways Happiness Blue Zones Project

How to Live Happier and Healthier Longer

Jennifer Rudloff

We launched Healthways|BlueZones Vitality Cities as a community-wide well-being improvement initiative in Southern California’s Beach Cities to help people live longer, better. Here are some facts that inspired this project and drove a community to take action:

  • Discover your Purpose: People who know why they wake up in the morning live seven years longer than those who don’t.
  • Discover and share your values: People who discover and embrace their values, passions, and talents (and share them regularly) live up to 4 years longer.
  • De-stress: Turn stress-shedding strategies into daily routines. This will help you avoid major age related diseases.
  • Eat Wisely: Those who adopt concrete health habits about their food intake live up to 8 years longer than those who don't.
  • Don’t skip your Vegetables: The healthiest cultures on earth eat a few more plants and a little less food.
  • Snack on nuts: Eating about a handful of nuts a day could add 2-3 years to your life.
  • Enjoy wine daily: Individuals who drink 1-2 glasses of wine a day outlive those who don’t.
  • Move Naturally: Find ways to make yourself walk more! Park further away, walk your dog, do your yard and house work. This can help you gain up to 4 years of life expectancy.
  • Discover a sense of belonging: Those invested in a positive, committed relationship can add up to 3 years of life expectancy.

As part of the Vitality Cities initiative, we’re helping residents of the beach cities community achieve these goals. Some of the programs we have in place include:

  • Vitality City Purpose workshops: These workshops are designed to help people understand their strengths and articulate their purpose. They help people discover new energy for life and connect individuals to volunteer opportunities where community members can apply their strengths to helping others.
  • Walking Moais: Moai comes from Okinawa, Japan and it means “meeting for a common purpose”. It originated as a way for villages to support each other in times of need. Vitality city Moai walking Teams encourage that same social support while adding the physical benefits of walking.

This initiative is just beginning and there are many more programs to come. There’s been a tremendous response from the community and local employers. The first walking Moai program has been a hit; In April more than 1000 beach cities residents formed walking teams and have been walking weekly with friends (new and old) ever since. In addition, some local employers were inspired and have launched walking moais at work. More than 200 workplace walkers at companies like AAMCO, Aerospace, Body Glove Crowne Plaza, and Redondo Beach Unified School District are participating in this program. These employers are seeing some positive cultural shifts with more enthusiastic employees at work, a greater sense of camaraderie between employees, and a greater sense of engagement in healthy choices.

Since April 1, 2011 we’ve had 32 employers who together employee 17,413 people sign on to become vitality employers with more interest every day. Since June is National Employee Wellness Month, we’d like to applaud these employers for taking this important first step to make a difference in the lives of their employers and throughout their communities.

To learn more about Vitality Cities, check out this video:

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHKWMG6FDZE']

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Healthcare Health Community Demand Vitality Prevention Beach Cities Healthways|BlueZones Vitality City Wellness Healthways vitality cities How to Live Longer Finding Happiness Blue Zones Project