Is Your City Making You Fat? How Urban Planning Can Address the Obesity Epidemic

April 24, 2022

By John Rennie Short, PhD, Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland New disease outbreaks, like the novel coronavirus that recently emerged in China’s Hubei province, generate headlines and attention. Meanwhile, however, Americans face a slower but much more pervasive health crisis: obesity. Nearly 40% of Americans are considered obese. Rates of obesity for children have increased in recent decades, putting more people at increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. One in 5 deaths of those aged 40 to 85 are now attributed to obesity, and one recent study projects that…

NYC Rolls Out No Meat Fridays to All Public Schools

March 15, 2022

Over the past two years, a secondary crisis has been brewing in schools across the country. Food insecurity for families with children doubled from 14 to 28% according to researchers at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. Food insecurity is the lack of access to nutritious foods that are also safe, culturally acceptable, and proportional to household income levels. Children from lower-income households rely heavily on school meals to meet their nutritional needs, and to keep them full and focused for a day’s worth of school work. Researchers suggest that school meals are often their most important meal…

Going Veganish – 9 Questions for Kathy Freston

October 5, 2016

Kathy Freston embodies the ideal Blue Zones life. She lives in a walkable neighborhood, has her own “moai” (a group of lifelong friends) she calls TTGs (more on that below) and lives by an especially pure version of the Blue Zones Diet. She’s written four New York Times bestsellers and famously convinced Oprah and her entire production company to go vegan for a month. Kathy’s newest offering, The Book of Veganish, out this week, is the latest in a growing body of literature chronicling the benefits of a plant-based diet. Kathy’s gentle approach shows readers how to “lean in” (hence…

Our Approach

March 19, 2014

The Blue Zones Project® is a systems approach. We implement long-term, evidence-backed policies and interventions that optimize environments. Citizens, schools, employers, restaurants, grocery stores, and community leaders collaborate on policies and programs that improve health and well-being. Requirements The program is based on getting broad and committed buy-in at a community level. Specific tasks are required to be a participant at each level. Becoming a Blue Zones® Community requires: At least 20 percent of citizens sign the Blue Zones Personal Pledge and complete one action. Completion of the Blue Zones Community® Policy Pledge. At least 50 percent of the top twenty…

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