Blue Zones Institute: Founder’s Statement

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BLUE ZONES is a brand and certification mark developed by Michel Poulain, Dan Buettner, and Giovanni Mario Pes when investigating people around the world living longer and better. BLUE ZONES is now a registered trademark owned by BLUE ZONES, LLC, and used by Messrs. Poulain, Buettner and Pes under license.

Centenarians exist worldwide but there are only a few areas where their concentration is exceptional so that the population could be considered as living longer. The interest to find such areas and populations is not recent. In the ‘70s, an article in National Geographic  identified longevity hotspots in Vilcabamba (Ecuador), Abkasia and Georgia (Caucasia) and for the Hunzas (Pakistan). However, after a strict validation of the alleged age of the oldest olds in these areas, these three longevity hotspots were dismissed. This is because age exaggeration is still often found among the oldest in numerous countries around the world.

In March 2000, Drs. Michel Poulain and Giovanni Mario Pes, who had been studying longevity in Sardinia, introduced the term BLUE ZONE, in connection with an area of extraordinary longevity in Sardinia and subsequently used the term in an academic paper in 2004. Previously, in 2002, Dan Buettner launched a program aimed at identifying all of the world’s longest-lived people and identifying their common denominators. He first used the term BLUE ZONES as an international certification and is largely responsible for articulating the common traits (see publication timeline). Later, under the aegis of a National Geographic research expedition led by Dan Buettner, Michel Poulain certified potential BLUE ZONES in Nicoya, Costa Rica (2007) and Ikaria, Greece (2008). Together with Giovanni Mario Pes, they certified these populations as meeting BLUE ZONES™ criteria and investigated their exceptional characteristics.

The identification and certification of a BLUE ZONES™ area or group is based on demographic criteria that are country-specific and depending on available documentation and its reliability. The population of a BLUE ZONES certified area should show a statistically significant higher longevity compared to national levels and display various features related to their lifestyle, nutrition, genetics and both human and physical environmental conditions that might be considered as determinants for living longer and better.

Considering that the paradigm of BLUE ZONES gets more and more interest from scientists, media and the general audience and that the lessons transferred from the BLUE ZONES might contribute merely to improve the wellbeing of our aging societies, the three undersigning founders insist upon strict respect of the criteria used when identifying or certifying new BLUE ZONES areas and such validation can only be based on thoroughly validated data, not on opinion or specific point of view.

Michel PoulainDan Buettner,  Giovanni Mario Pes

Blue Zones Founders