Blue Zones Project continues to better Shawnee

Ashton Smith, Assistant Features Editor

Blue Zones are areas in the world where people are known to live longer. An organization known as the Blue Zone Project is working towards increasing the Blue Zone areas all over the world, and part of that has started here in Shawnee, Okla.
“The Blue Zones Project encourages changes in our community that lead to healthier options,” according to the Blue Zones website. “From our worksites and schools, to our restaurants and grocery stores – the small changes contribute to huge benefits for all of us: lowered healthcare costs, improved productivity, and ultimately, a higher quality of life.”
By changing these aspects of our lives, we leave room for healthier habits to take root.
On the Healthways website, the author goes all the way back to tell the readers who invented the Blue Zones and how they came about.
“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.
Since then, 42 communities have joined, 1,685 organizations are participating, 165,028 pledges have been taken and over 2,250,000 lives have been impacted because of this national project. One of the 42 participating communities is here in Pottawattamie county. The organizations website for Pottawattamie county is full of different ways to get involved in the project, such as their page full of serving opportunities and workshops that are being held around the area.
Along with that, there is a tab on their website about the different local organizations in Shawnee that are committed to operating on Blue Zone premises. Different places to eat, shop, go to church and go to school are located on this page so people in the area can find them easily.
On the main Blue Zones website, the secrets to living a better, healthier and longer life are there for all to see and read about. It has what the Blue Zone Project calls the Power 9®.
“[We can] improve where we live, work, learn, and play, we make it easier to get up and move, eat healthy, make new friends, find a reason for being—and live longer, better,” according to the website.
By providing the community access to materials that detail these nine health improvements, the Blue Zones can spread to new areas of the globe and promote health and happiness to more people.

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