Blue Zones Project encourages healthier lifestyles and community involvement


By Blue Zones Project

“Live longer, better” is the mantra for the Blue Zones Project. Their goal is to help transform communities around North America into areas where the healthy choice is easy and people live longer with a better quality of life.

Zachary Jones, Staff Writer

The Blue Zones Project has officially made Durant their 51st community within the United States to be a Blue Zones faction.

The project is a collaboration of Dan Buettner and National Geographic to find a healthier lifestyle with hopes of understanding why some cultures have a higher life expectancy than others.

In 2004, Buettner took teams to various locations to identify different lifestyle characteristics to explain their longevity.

This journey soon lead to research supporting five distinctive environments that were seen to carry the world’s healthiest people, each containing completely different cultures that are known as: Sardinia, Italy: Okinawa, Japan: Loma Linda, California: Ikaria, Greece: and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

People of all ages can make healthy choices and improve their quality of life. (By Blue Zones Project)

After discovering these five different cultures with people reaching the age of 100 at rates 10 times greater than anyone in the U.S., Buettner began to see a pattern of nine common traits that each community shared.

These nine common denominators eventually became known as the ‘power nine’ and became the key that Dan was seeking.

As the power nine showed a promise of a healthier lifestyle in 2009, after partnering with the AARP and United Health Foundation to apply the power nine principles; the Blue Zones Project began to find ways to implement them into their communities. With traits as simple as eating better and staying active consistently, the project has made extraordinary efforts to “work with all sectors of the community to make the healthier option the easier option,” said Ashton Gabbart, Marketing and Engagement Lead.

While the project shows promise, they will need as much community involvement as possible in order to make a real difference.

Creating healthy habits can be a great way to spend time with loved ones. This family is seen enjoying a walk on the Crooked Smile Trail located by the SE softball fields on First Street. (By Blue Zones Project)

The students at Southeastern Oklahoma State University can make an impact by participating within purpose workshops or influencing other students to connect more with the community and finding their purpose.

In order to achieve the goal of making the healthier option the easier option for everyone, the community of Durant must work together.