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When did you first hear about Blue Zones Project?

Was it in 2015 when Beaver Dam Community Hospital first considered helping Dodge County become the first Blue Zones Project demonstration community in Wisconsin?

Or last April, when Beaver Dam, Horicon, Mayville and Juneau held community kickoff events?

Maybe you have heard about Blue Zones Project, but you can’t quite put your finger on when. Whether you are curious yourself or want the information to share with someone, here is an overview of the Blue Zones Project.

What Blue Zones Project is about: Inspired by the world’s longest-lived cultures, Blue Zones Project helps people live longer, better lives by making permanent changes to a community’s environment, policy and social networks. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author, identified five regions around the world — Blue Zones — with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older.

Who we are: Blue Zones Project Dodge County is led by a local six-person team and hundreds of volunteers. The people working and dedicating their time to with Blue Zones Project are neighbors who share a common vision for healthier, happier thriving communities.

What it does: Blue Zones Project leverages secrets discovered in the Blue Zones called the Power 9 principles to help transform communities so people can live longer with a higher quality of life. Blue Zones Project launched in Dodge County in October 2016 and people in our communities are benefiting. Local restaurants are adding healthier options, schools are incorporating well-being practices, and employees are finding worksite support for healthier habits. People are connecting with one another and the healthy choice is becoming the easy choice.

How it is done: Blue Zones Project applies Power 9 principles discovered in the world’s longest-lived cultures through our unique life radius model to transform well-being in our communities. The life radius model is designed to optimize the settings where people routinely spend time. Activities for individuals, evidence-based pledges for places, and community policy efforts help make healthy choices easier, so people naturally adopt healthier behaviors.

Why it matters: Communities can take control of their health and well-being. Blue Zones Project delivers measurable change in population health. When the entire community participates, small changes contribute to huge benefits: lowered healthcare costs, improved productivity and ultimately a higher quality of life. Blues Zones will have succeeded when well-being simply becomes a way of life supported by the environment.

What you can do: Learn more about Blue Zones Project by visiting dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com. There is information on events and activities that Blue Zones Project offers in the community to help improve well-being. Civic organizations, other groups or small businesses can participate as a supporting organization. Faith-based organizations, worksites, schools, restaurants and grocery stores can become Blue Zones Approved places signaling to the community that they care about the well-being of the community and the people in it.

Find out more by visiting bluezonesproject.com, e-mailing at bluezonesprojectdodgecounty@sharecare.com or calling 920-212-8511.