• Dan Buettner

    If you look at the cultures around the world where people are living the longest it's never because individuals are trying to do it."

Blue Zones Project by Healthways

A Blue Zones Community® is an area in which citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores, and community leaders have come together to optimize residents’ longevity and well-being. Blue Zones Project® by Healthways takes a systematic, environmental approach to identifying and creating policies and programs that support community transformation. 

Blue Zones Project is a community well-being improvement initiative designed to change the way people experience the world around them. By impacting environment, policy, and social networks, Blue Zones Project makes healthy choices easier. As a result, people can live longer, better, and communities can lower healthcare costs, improve productivity, and boost national recognition as a great place to live, work, and play.

Living Longer, Healthier Lives

Blue Zones Project was born out of National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner’s eight-year examination of communities across the globe where people were happily living the longest. A team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists uncovered nine common characteristics that help identify a path for up to 12 extra years of life, regardless of geographic location. These shared lifestyle behaviors are known as the Power 9® and focus on helping people move naturally, eat wisely, connect with others, discover purpose, and change their environments.

Buettner founded Blue Zones, LLC to bring these secrets of longevity to the United States, partnering with Healthways in 2009 to help communities accelerate transformation through a comprehensive set of solutions designed to improve overall well-being. These solutions have measurably lowered healthcare costs, increased productivity, and improved the quality of life for residents in those communities.

Leading by Example

In 2010, the Blue Zones Project team partnered with the Beach Cities Health District in Southern California to apply Blue Zones principles to three California communities: Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhattan Beach. In 2011, Blue Zones and Healthways joined forces with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield to deliver Blue Zones Project across the state of Iowa in support of the Governor's Healthiest State Initiative.

  • Success is measured using the Gallup Healthways Well-being Index® (WBI) and other economic indicators.
  • The Beach Cities have seen a 14% drop in obesity and a decrease in smoking rate of 30% across the entire community after just two years.
  • During our time in Iowa, the state has moved from 16th to 9th in the Well-Being Index state rankings and remains in the top 10 in the latest report from 2013—results with a strong economic link. Iowa’s score has increased for three consecutive years, which is counter to the national trend.
  • Three Blue Zones Project communities in Iowa were among the 15 best Complete Street policies adopted in the nation in 2013 for walkability and bikeability, and Hermosa Beach was recognized for their Complete Street policy in 2012.

Texas Health Resources and the Hawaii Medical Service Association are now pursuing Blue Zones Projects in their respective communities.

Visit the Blue Zones Project website for additional inspiration and information about getting started with your own community transformation.

Certified Blue Zones Worksite

By combining Blue Zones Power 9 knowledge with Healthways well-being research on worksite engagement and productivity, we have created the Blue Zones Employer model, where business and their employees flourish as a result of an environment that supports healthier choices. Our six-stage model lowers absenteeism and healthcare costs, increases productivity, and builds a more engaged and focused workforce.

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