Let’s Try To Become Part of the Blue Zone Community
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
(Please click on red links & note magenta)
As you know, the goal of Windermere Sun is to promote community ABC’s (activities-businesses-collaborations) and to help our community residents to live a healthier, happier, and more sustainable life style. So, it is natural for me to pay a great deal of attention to longevity researches. One interesting research caught my attention in recent years is the Blue Zones communities. “Blue Zones communities” represents a demographic or geographic region of the world where people live significantly longer lives. This concept grew out of demographic work done by Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain, who identified Sardinia‘s Nuoro province as the region with the highest concentration of male centenarians. As Gianni and Michel zeroed in on the cluster of villages with the highest longevity, they drew concentric blue circles on the map and began referring to the area inside the circle as the Blue Zone. In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and longevity researchers and identified longevity hotspots in Okinawa (Japan); Sardinia (Italy); Nicoya (Costa Rica); Icaria (Greece); and among the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California, and offers an explanation, as to why these populations live healthier and longer lives. They found that people of the Blue Zones reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States. It is worth noting that residents of Okinawa, Sardinia, and Loma Linda produce a high rate of centenarians, suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people in other parts of the developed world, and enjoy more healthy years of life whereas residents of Icaria has the highest percentage of 90-year-olds on the planet (nearly 1 out of 3 people make it to their 90s in Icaria and have about 20% lower rates of cancer, 50% lower rates of heart disease and almost no dementia).
Okinawa’s Longevity Profile, according to Dan Buettner, below:
- Longest disability-free life expectancy in the world
- Live seven good years longer than average Americans
- Five times as many centenarians
- One fifth the rate of breast and colon cancer
- One sixth the rate of cardiovascular disease
People inhabiting Blue Zones (refer to Venn Diagram above) share common lifestyle characteristics that contribute to their longevity. There are six shared characteristics among the people of Okinawa, Sardinia, and Loma Linda Blue Zones, below:
- Family concerns ahead of other concerns
- Less smoking
- Semi-vegetarianism-except for the Sardinian diet, the majority of food consumed are of plant-based diet
- Constant moderate physical activity
- Social engagement-people of all ages are socially active and integrated into their communities
- Legumes is commonly consumed
Below, I’d like to share with you what Dan Buettner has discovered and shared:
Perhaps there are things we can do to optimize our communities’ chance to become one of the Blue Zone communities by some of the measures below:
- inviting more “walking and biking opportunities” into your life and widen your social network…
- helping to encourage your local school districts to implement policies favorable in lowering BMI (body mass index)…
- starting a garden…
- decreasing the size of your plates/meals…
Let’s move constantly naturally, increase plant-based food in our diet, avoid being rushed, develop close social network, spend at least 15 minutes of the day for self-reflection in nature, treat people we meet with patience and respect, have a sense of purpose….
In some of the communities, such as Albert Lea, MN, after applying the approach, in just one year, participants added an estimated 2.9 years to their average lifespan while healthcare claims for city worker dropped 49%.
So far Hawaii, Fort Worth, Texas, Oregon, Southwest Florida, and Naples, Florida , have already signed up to participate in Blue Zones Project to encourage community participation to lead to healthier options for future benefit in lowering healthcare costs, improving productivity, and ultimately a higher quality of life. To find out how we can encourage our community participation with the Blue Zone Principles, check out this site. Perhaps you can write your city mayor(s) and encourage him/her to consider implementing Blue Zone Principles for your community.
~Let’s Help One Another~
Gathered, written, photographed, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at [email protected]
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