The Blue Zone project began when Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and the world's best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people live measurably longer better. After identifying five 'Blue Zones' the team identified that all Blue Zone residents shared nine specific characteristics .
The Blue Zones Project is a systems approach in which citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores and community leaders collaborate on policies and programs that move the community towards better health and well-being. They implement long-term, evidence-backed policies and interventions that optimize environments within communities, nudging people towards healthier choices throughout their day.
The program is based on the assumption that we spend 90% of our lives in a 20-mile “Life Radius”. Within that life radius the focus is on optimizing:
The built environment: Improving roads and transportation options, parks, and public spaces
Municipal policies and ordinances: Promoting activity and discouraging junk food marketing and smoking
Restaurants, schools, grocery stores and workplaces: Building healthier options into the places people spend most of their time
Social networks: Forming and nurturing social groups that support healthy habits
Habitat: Helping people design homes that nudge them into eating less and moving more
Inner selves: Encouraging people to reduce stress, find their purpose, and give back to the community.
There are some great outcomes to the project in the works in three areas across the USA and the approach sparks a lot of different questions:
1. How can social media and online communities be leveraged to create an extension of the 'right tribe' to support healthy behaviours and encourage a healthy lifestyle?
2. What opportunities are there to use tech/games/social networks to get children moving more naturally?
3. Is there a way to use wearable technology to encourage healthier behaviour around mealtimes--- reminding us to eat slowly and to stop eating when 80% full?
4. What role does stress play in the unhealthy outcomes of both children and adults in all multicultural and socioeconomic groups? What opportunities can communities provide to allow all people (including low paid, working people) to unplug and shed stress?