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Good things are happening with Mason City's Blue Zones Project. 
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The Blue Zones Project® is a collaboration between Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield® and Healthways® to help make Iowa the first in the nation for well-being  as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index®. As part of Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative, Blue Zones Project demonstration communities are working to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to environment, policy, and social networks. These demonstration communities are also operating as models for other communities to follow. The leadership team involved with the Healthiest Ames Initiative originally applied to become a Blue Zones Project demonstration community, but unanimously decided to not pursue the opportunity during the second phase of the program. The Healthiest Ames Committee felt that there was sufficient energy, motivation and expertise in the community to follow a more self-directed path. The Healthiest Ames Initiative can still utilize some resources and guidelines from the Blue Zones® program on The flexibility to follow a more organic and self-directed path provides for more independence and room for innovation. 
For more information on the Blue Zones Project--click here




Blue Zones®, LLC is an organization founded by National Geographic author and researcher Dan Buettner, Blue Zones studies the longest-lived cultures on earth and shares their secrets. Blue Zones scientific research and longevity studies have produced lifestyle management tools, content, and products that help people live well, longer. 




Researchers found that people who live in Blue Zones areas share nine common lifestyle behaviors that have a direct impact on their increased well-being and longevity—called Power 9® principles. They are summarized below but visit the Power 9 link for more details.

• Move Naturally:  We get more physical activity naturally if we live in walkable communities, de-convenience our homes, and grow gardens.
• Know Your Purpose: People who know why they wake up in the morning live up to seven years longer than those who don’t.
• Down Shift:  To reverse inflammation related to every major age-related disease, find time each day to meditate, nap, pray or enjoy a happy hour.
• 80% Rule:  It takes your stomach 20 minutes to tell your brain it is full, causing most people to accidentally overeat; so stop eating when you feel 80% full.
• Plant Slant:  Eat mostly a plant-based diet that is heavy on beans, nuts, and green plants.  This is consistent with the USDA’s My Plate recommendations to make fruits, vegetables and grains the majority of your intake.
• Wine at 5:  If you have a healthy relationship to alcohol, one to two glasses of wine daily could help add years to your life, especially when consumed with a healthy diet.
• Family First:  Living in a thriving family is worth half a dozen extra years of life expectancy.  Invest time in your kids, commit to a life partner, and keep your aging parents nearby.
• Belong:  Recommit, reconnect, or explore a new faith-based community.  No matter which faith, studies found that people who show up to their faith community four times a month live an extra 4-14 years.
• Right Tribe:  Your friends have a long-term impact on your well-being.  Expanding your social circle to include health-minded, supportive people might be the most powerful thing you can do to add years to your life.  



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