healthy city

Blue Zones Project: Good Health is a Community Effort

We see it in the news every day: America’s health care is in crisis; we spend way more on health care than other developed nations; we are unsuccessfully battling epidemics of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and dementia.

Our current approach to health care is really sick care — it starts when a person goes to the hospital, emergency room, or doctor’s office because he or she has a problem. But health starts at home — in our kitchens, our workplaces, our schools, our roads, and our cities.

We make hundreds of decisions every day, and we make most of them without thinking. Unfortunately, our food environments are designed so that the easiest choice is to consume low-quality, high-calorie food. Similarly, our built environments — our roads, building, and towns — are designed so that the easiest choice is to be sedentary (to drive instead of bike or walk).

In Blue Zones Project Communities, we help people transform where they live, work, learn, and play so that the healthy choice is the easy choice. These permanent and semi-permanent changes to the environment affect current residents, but also positively impact the lives of future generations. Building healthier communities can lower health care costs, improve productivity, and improve quality of life for all residents. The results have been tremendous in cities around the country where other public health initiatives have failed: Blue Zones Project communities have experienced double digit drops in obesity and smoking rates, as well as impressive increases in activity levels.

We work with grocery stores, restaurants, and workplaces to offer and bring attention to foods that are more nutritious and tasty. In schools, we implement programs and policies that help children create healthy habits. We also work with city officials and engineers to implement sidewalks and bike lanes and improve public parks. See how we’re doing this in Tarrant County, Texas, in the videos below, where more than 250 restaurants, grocery stores, workplaces, and schools have committed to making healthy choices easier.

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