u.s. conference of mayors

NEWS: The U.S. Conference of Mayors Pass a Resolution Supporting Blue Zones Community Well-Being Initiatives

 

America’s top mayors passed a resolution encouraging cities around the country to adopt a proactive systems approach to health based on Blue Zones’ widely proven model of improving the well-being of communities.

America’s top mayors passed a resolution encouraging cities around the country to adopt a proactive systems approach to health based on Blue Zones’ widely proven model of improving the well-being of communities. Click To Tweet

At the 89th annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), 1,400 mayors from America’s largest cities passed a resolution to “create community Blue Zones well-being initiatives to combat chronic disease and comorbidities” in a show of support for public health and well-being. As “mental health awareness, a stressed-out workforce, lifestyle-related diseases, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the coming ‘silver tsunami’ of an active and vibrant older population are all driving demand and innovation for well-being solutions” and “communities with higher well-being have lower healthcare costs, vibrant economies, and thriving workforces,” the resolution encourages leaders to focus on an innovative proactive approach.

“Just five years after launching the Blue Zones Project in the city, Fort Worth went from the 185th to the 31st healthiest city in the nation,” observed Fort Worth, TX Mayor Mattie Parker, who introduced the resolution. “We are tackling the global health crisis of our lifetime and now, more than ever, we need to promote and advance evidence-based solutions that are critical in the face of the current pandemic and our nationwide healthcare crisis. Blue Zones Project Fort Worth shows the tremendous impact that a systems-focused multi-dimensional effort can have to improve the health, wealth, and well-being of an entire city.”

Just five years after launching the Blue Zones Project in the city, Fort Worth went from the 185th to the 31st healthiest city in the nation... —@MayorMattie Click To Tweet

Founded in 1932, the U.S. Conference of Mayors is an official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of over 30,000 and contributes to the development of national urban policy. Resolutions, when passed, collectively represent the views of the nation’s mayors and become the official policy of the UCSM. They are also distributed to Congress and the President of the United States.

Mayor Stephen Benjamin, the Immediate Past President of the USCM and current mayor of Columbia, SC said: “As the elected leaders closest to the people and the ground, we rely on informed and thoughtful policymaking to improve the health, wealth, and quality of lives of our constituents.”

As the elected leaders closest to the people and the ground, we rely on informed and thoughtful policymaking to improve the health, wealth, and quality of lives of our constituents. —Mayor @SteveBenjaminSC of Columbia, SC Click To Tweet

Mayor Francis Suarez of Miami commented in support of the resolution, “As mayors, we are committed to guiding our people toward a better future. That brighter future can’t happen unless we make a concerted and strategic effort to improve our collective health and well-being.”

As mayors, we are committed to guiding our people toward a better future. That brighter future can’t happen unless we make a concerted and strategic effort to improve our collective health and well-being. —Mayor @FrancisSuarez of Miami,… Click To Tweet

Our proven model to help cities, counties, and organizations through community well-being programs lowers healthcare costs, improves productivity and happiness, and increases social connectedness and economic vitality. Ben Leedle, CEO of Blue Zones, said, “Improved well-being has a direct impact on health, innovation, productivity, and resilience, so placing it at the center of city policy and planning is imperative to ensure a healthy and happy future for all.”

Improved well-being has a direct impact on health, innovation, productivity, and resilience and making it a priority is imperative to ensure a healthy and happy future for all. @MayorMattie @FrancisSuarez @SteveBenjaminSC Click To Tweet

See full press release here.

RESOLUTION PASSED AUGUST 27th, 2021 at the U.S. Conference of Mayors

Creating Community Blue Zones Well-Being Initiatives to Combat Chronic Disease and Comorbidities

  • WHEREAS, individuals in good health form the first line of defense against infectious disease, including a good chance of mild symptoms and recovery from COVID-19, while those with chronic conditions – such as diabetes, heart disease, and compromised immune systems – are at high risk for severe illness and death; and
  • WHEREAS, communities traditionally rely on a reactive approach to health focused on causes, consequences and diagnosis, while communities with pro-active well-being initiatives focus on prevention, healthy lifestyle and pursuit of optimal well-being; and
  • WHEREAS, according to the American Heart Association, prior to COVID-19 more than 800,000 Americans died of heart disease, stroke or other cardiovascular disease every year, costing our health care system $214 billion per year and costing $138 billion in lost productivity; and
  • WHEREAS, according to the American Diabetes Association more than 35 million Americans have diabetes and 88 million adults have prediabetes – which can cause serious complications including heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness; and
  • WHEREAS, the American Diabetes Association in 2017 estimated the medical cost and lost productivity due to diabetes and prediabetes at $327 billion; and
  • WHEREAS, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) obesity affects 19% of children and 42% of U.S. adults putting people at risk for chronic disease, heart disease, and some cancers. Over a quarter of all Americans 17 to 24 are too heavy to join the military. Obesity costs the US health care system $147 billion a year; and
  • WHEREAS, according to a CDC 2019 report 90% percent of the nation’s $3.5 trillion in annual health care expenditures were for people with chronic and mental health conditions; and
  • WHEREAS, mental health awareness, a stressed-out workforce, lifestyle-related diseases, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the coming “silver tsunami” of an active and vibrant older population are all driving demand and innovation for well-being solutions; and
  • WHEREAS, research indicates physical, mental, financial, and social well-being are interrelated and the best holistic approach includes all these elements; and
  • WHEREAS, engaged and healthier employees and students are more effective and productive, healthy and engaged consumers spend more, and communities with higher well-being have lower healthcare costs, vibrant economies, and thriving workforces; and
  • WHEREAS, In January of 2021 the Office of the Surgeon General and the United States Department of Health and Human Services released a Community Health and Economic Prosperity report that raised awareness to business leaders of the advantage of investing in community health for the health of their businesses and the health of their local economy. The report shows the return on investment in community well-being is economic development including more prosperity and happiness for individuals, organizations, and the community at large; and
  • WHEREAS, the City of Fort Worth, Texas has received national recognition for the partnership between city leaders Blue Zones Project – a Well-Being initiative that combined efforts from the City, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Texas Health Resources and other local funders; and
  • WHEREAS, Blue Zones Project Fort Worth worked with city leaders to design and implement significant policy initiatives with a goal to make healthy choices easier citywide and make Fort Worth one of the safest, most accessible, equitable and walkable large cities in the United States; and
  • WHEREAS, the Blue Zones model improves the well-being of entire populations with a systems-focused multi-dimensional effort to reduce the impacts of chronic disease and comorbidities thus reducing the strain on the local hospital systems and the negative impacts on local economies and productivity; and
  • WHEREAS, communities that create Blue Zones Well-Being initiatives will focus on the creation of a community “Well-Being Movement” including; converting local Directors of Health to Directors of Community Well-Being and launching a City Well-Being Index,
  • NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors supports the pro-active systems approach to health similar to the City of Fort Worth including focus on prevention, healthy lifestyle and pursuit of optimal well-being, and the creation of Blue Zones initiatives to focus on the creation of a community “Well-Being Movement” including; converting local Directors of Health to Directors of Community Well-Being and launching a City Well-Being Index.

The full text of the resolution is available here.

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