The Well-Being Journal

Did Dan Buettner Convince a NYT Foodie to Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle?

Madison Agee

Yes to coffee, red wine and bread? Kale and protein shakes not required? Long walks instead of high-impact exercise? Lingering with friends over a long meal? A pair of New York Times articles reveals that the secrets to a long, happy life may be a lot more enjoyable than many of us believe.

Recently, National Geographic Fellow and Healthways partner Dan Buettner spent a day with New York Times food writer Jeff Gordinier, in which the two prepared a “longevity feast” that reflected a sampling of the discoveries Buettner made during a global expedition to uncover the areas of the world in which people live the longest – known as “Blue Zones”. Buettner and Gordinier shopped, cooked and enjoyed a meal based on Blue Zones principles.

The experience, detailed in this article, convinced Gordinier that a healthy lifestyle that promotes longevity doesn’t have to be ascetic and miserable – in fact, a Blue Zones-centered life can be pleasurable and full of tasty meals and great companionship. Some of the tips that Buettner shared with Gordinier are collected here in a companion article.

Buettner is working with Healthways on the Blue Zones Project®, a powerful community well-being improvement initia­tive designed to make healthy choices easier through changes to environment, policy and social networks. You can learn more about the Blue Zones Project here.

Topics: Dan Buettner Longevity Eating Healthy Blue Zones Project

Smart Snacking Strategies

Jennifer Rudloff

A well-chosen snack can offer vital nutrients, satisfy hunger, and give a much-needed energy boost throughout a busy day. The key is portion control. Try these tricks for refueling the next time a snack attack strikes:

  • Dip high-fiber veggies in a low-fat or non-fat ranch dressing.
  • Create a delicious smoothie with low-fat or non-fat milk, strawberries, a banana, and a handful of spinach – you’ll never know it’s there.
  • Spread celery sticks with a tablespoon of peanut butter and top with rasins.
  • For a frozen treat, try a peeled banana dipped in low-fat or non-fat yogurt, rolled in crushed cereal or granola.
  • Top low-fat or non-fat yogurt with a small amount of crunchy granola and berries.
Topics: Healthy Living Snacking Strategies Eating Healthy Blue Zones Project

Just In: Healthy Behaviors on the Rise

Jennifer Rudloff

This week, the February findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® were released. They indicate that Americans starting 2012 on the right when it comes to healthy eating and exercise. In fact, since December, the percentage of Americans who reportedly ate the recommended servings of fruits and veggies at least 4 days in the last week (5 servings) increased by 3.3 percentage points. That’s quite an improvement for just a few short months. But healthy behaviors aren’t stopping in the kitchen; they’re also extending to the gym as more Americans are exercising more frequently. These 2 factors together boosted the Healthy Behavior Index score by nearly 3 points since December. Looks like those resolutions are paying off after all.

And yet there’s still more positive news – it seems that we’re starting to reverse or at very least slow the trend when it comes to obesity. In February, the Well-Being Index shows that Obesity dropped to 25.6% -- that’s tied for the lowest monthly level Gallup and Healthways have found since October 2008.

Now that’s the good news. The bad news is that when it comes to healthy behaviors, American’s still have a long way to go! There’s no doubt that most Americans know what it takes to be healthy, and there’s no shortage of resources out there to help. But we often let our desire for immediate gratification get in the way of doing the right thing. Take heart health for example: The American Heart Association has a list of 7 heart healthy behaviors they refer to as “Life’s Simple 7” which include some fairly straight forward behaviors including:

  • don’t smoke
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • engage in regular physical activity
  • eat a healthy diet
  • manage blood pressure
  • take charge of cholesterol
  • keep blood sugar, or glucose, at healthy levels

Seems pretty straight forward, no? Yet a recent study shows that only 1.2% of Americans are following these simple seven. And that’s why heart disease remains America’s number one killer, folks.

So how do we move forward and build momentum behind a healthy behavior movement? The first step towards impacting populations is to recognize where the gaps lie. You know that thing "they" say about know knowledge being power…it's true! As you explore your population and identify gaps, you'll begin to better understand the needs of your people and poise yourself to more effectively support their journey towards better well-being.

If you’re not sure where to start, you’re in luck -- we have the tools to help! For organizations, the Healthways Well-Being Assessment™ makes the process of understanding your population easy! It offers simple, complete, and actionable insights into the social, emotional, and physical health factors that are impacting the well-being of your unique population. It also help brings awareness to each person as they'll each receive a personal well-being report and plan. The plan is reflective of their responses and risks, and provides targeted feedback to help them make progress towards improving their health and well-being.

Topics: Healthy Living In the News Exercise Well-Being Index Simple Seven Healthways Gallup Eating Healthy