BLUE ZONES & THE POWER 9
In 2004, Dan Buettner and National Geographic set out to identify areas around the world where people were living much longer and healthier lives. They found five areas and circled them in blue marker on their world map. These areas are now known as the Blue Zones. Dan discovered that these zones all had nine habits in common that were helping people live much longer, with much less disease than we experience in the United States. Applying these principles, known as the Power 9®, into your life can improve your well-being and improve longevity:
Move Naturally – Find ways to move more. You’ll burn calories without thinking about it.
Down Shift - Reverse disease by finding a stress relieving strategy that works for you.
Purpose – Wake up with purpose each day and add up to seven years to your life.
80% Rule – Eat mindfully and stop eating when you’re 80% full.
Plant Slant – Put more fruits and vegetables on your plate.
Family First – Invest time with your family.
Belong – Belong to a faith-based community and attend services regularly.
Right Tribe – Surround yourself with people who support your positive behaviors and who support you.
Friends/Wine@Five – Schedule social time with friends over a glass of red wine, coffee, or healthy smoothie.
Buettner took these nine common habits and formed a global community movement called Blue Zones Project, which uses these Power 9 principles to help nudge people toward better health and transform environments to make healthy choices easier.
BLUE ZONES PROJECT IN NORTH TEXAS
A Blue Zones Community
In 2015, Blue Zones Project was launched in Fort Worth. With strong support from Texas Health Resources and other community organizations, in late 2018 Fort Worth became a certified Blue Zones Community, the largest in the country. Hundreds of organizations and individuals partnered together to create a cultural shift and environmental change:
- 95,000+ people committed to better well-being through a Personal Pledge or participated in a Purpose Workshop, cooking demonstration, walking group, or volunteer activity
- 155 Blue Zones Project Approved™ Worksites
- 66 Blue Zones Project Approved™ Restaurants
- 50 Blue Zones Project Approved™ Schools
- 20 Blue Zones Project Approved™ Grocery stores
- 16 Blue Zones Project Faith-Based Organizations
- 60 Participating Organizations and Neighborhood Associations
- 24 new food, built environment, and smoking policies enacted
A Better Community
As a result of participation in the Blue Zones Project initiative, Fort Worth has shown improvement in purpose, social, financial, community and physical well-being — all five of the core elements of well-being measured by the Gallup-Sharecare survey. Smoking decreased 31 percent, residents who exercised 30+ minutes 3+ days per week increased 17 percent, and consumption of fruits and vegetables increased 3 percent. Pride in Fort Worth also increased.
More importantly, Fort Worth’s equivalent rank for overall well-being (compared to the 190 largest metro areas reported nationally) rose from 185th in 2014 to 58th in 2017 and then jumped up again in 2018 to 31st place. The city’s well-being rankings have remained consistent in the years since. Check out CNN’s story about Blues Zones Fort Worth Project and Texas Health here.
In early 2019, Blue Zones Project Fort Worth moved under the umbrella of North Texas Healthy Communities, a non-profit community outreach arm of Texas Health Resources that focuses on community health and well-being. Tarrant area businesses, schools, and organizations are encouraged to join the hundreds of organizations that have already implemented Blue Zones principles to improve well-being throughout the community. For more information, visit LiveLongFortWorth.com or contact us at BlueZonesProject@TexasHealth.org.