Whole Life Club promotes Blue Zones for Boone

When students at Appalachian State University selected Dr. Chishimba Nathan Mowa to deliver the Faculty Last Lecture in 2016, Mowa talked to students about the United States’ only designated “blue zone,” in Loma Linda, California.

“Blue Zones” are areas around the world where the longest-lived people are found. The areas share such characteristics as healthy diets, social connectedness and opportunities for lots of natural movement. They were first brought to public attention in 2005, by Dan Buettner, who wrote an article in National Geographic and has since gone on to establish the Blue Zones Project®, which works with communities around the world to encourage healthy living. The entire state university system of Iowa is a Blue Zones Project community, as well as Dodge County, Wisconsin and Fort Worth, Texas.

Mowa, a professor in the Department of Biology, made an appeal to the students at the end of the presentation.

“We have such a rich American heritage that we’ve lost. As a consequence, every 30 seconds we have an American who’s dying from a heart attack,” he said. “Let’s begin a Blue Zones Project that would transform App State and the city around us.”

From that plea, the Whole Life Club was established to encourage healthy living on campus and work toward establishing Boone as a designated blue zone. Last year, club members held free yoga classes on campus, ran a half marathon and served vegan meals at meetings. Club president Ella Perrin said that the club has about 10 active members, and she hopes to attract more members as word of their plans spreads.