Blue Zones Wahiawa
Making Strides in Community Health
Blue Zones areas are places in the world where people live to be 100 years old at an astonishing rate. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic explorer, recognized that people living in places like Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Loma Linda, California; led vibrant, active and usually long lives. Dan’s team documented the findings of an eight-year longevity study and identified the traits that are common in these longevity hot spots. The traits include:
- Move Naturally: Enhance health by promoting physical activity in communities, homes and workplaces.
- Right Outlook: Balance a sense of purpose with periods of calm.
- Eat Wisely: Use the 80 percent rule to stop eating before becoming too full, along with make wise food choices with verbal and symbolic reminders like smaller plates for smaller portions. This is combined with eating a diet that is highly plant-based and (unless religiously restricted) moderate drinking of wine.
- Belong: Have a sense of community with engagement and focus on loved ones and participate in a faith-based community.
These traits, known as the Power 9, are the basis for the Blue Zones Project, a globally recognized community well-being improvement program. Hawaii Medical Services Association (HMSA) brought the Blue Zones Project to Hawai`i in 2015 to support their vision to make the state an even healthier, happier, and more vibrant place to live.
There are eight communities in Hawaii that went through a competitive selection process to be chosen for the Blue Zones project. On Hawaii Island, the East and North areas along with Windward Oahu’s Koolaupoko area began their Blue Zones Project initiatives in 2015. These communities were joined in 2017 by Oahu’s Kapolei/Ewa, the 4Ms (Manoa/Makiki/McCully/Moiliili), Wahiawa, Wailuku/Kahului, and West Hawaii on Hawaii Island. The criteria for community selection is based on the area’s sense of community, strong commitment and readiness to do the work of becoming a certified Blue Zones Community.
The project is organized through community engagement initiatives spear-headed by a local support team that follows scientifically proven lessons of longevity, health, and happiness. The goal of an initial three-year launch is to create vibrant communities and boost the well-being of the residents. The overarching goal is to build a program that can sustain the improved well-being beyond the three-year initiative.
Each community works with schools, grocery stores, restaurants, worksites, faith-based organizations and policy leaders to improve the accessibility of healthy choices.
The Wahiawa Blue Zones Project is planning a Purpose Workshop on Saturday, May 5, at the Wahiawa Botanical Gardens, 1396 California Ave, Wahiawa. Check in is at 9:30 a.m. and the meeting starts promptly at 10:00 a.m. Seating is limited and registration is required. Email BluezonesProjectWahiawa@sharecare.com to register.
For more information on Blue Zones Project in Hawaii or to learn how to participate, visit Hawaii.BlueZonesProject.com. You can follow Wahiawa’s activities on Facebook or Instagram @ BZPWahiawa or via email BlueZonesProjectWahiawa@sharecare.comBlueZonesProjectWahiawa@sharecare.com
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