Arizona-Based Organizations Provide Support for Blue Zones Initiative in South Phoenix
Equality Health Foundation, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona and Valley of the Sun United Way announced the launch of a new Blue Zones Activate effort in South Phoenix this week.
Blue Zones aims to employ evidence-based solutions to improve overall population health and well-being, raise employee and student productivity and boost economic vitality and development in communities across the country.
The initiative is based on research and principles developed by Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author. Buettner identified and studied areas/cultures of the world — named “blue zones” — with the healthiest, longest-living populations to understand the secrets of longevity.
Blue Zones uses these lessons of longevity, health and happiness, gleaned from 20 years of research, to boost the well-being of entire communities.
Now, with three Arizona-based healthcare organizations on board and funding from Arizona’s allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act funds, the initiative is coming to South Phoenix.
The first phase of Blue Zones Activate is an assessment of community readiness and needs to determine the project’s feasibility. The Blue Zones team — made up of global experts in food systems, built environment, tobacco, alcohol, health equity, workforce development and happiness — will begin immediate work with local leaders and organizations to determine the strengths and challenges of South Phoenix residents.
Blue Zones experts will then work with leaders and residents to build a solution and evidence-based plan for change. Once implemented, this initiative can drive widespread improvements in well-being, reductions in health-related costs and improve economic vitality in the region.
“Blue Zones creates meaningful and lasting change in improving health and the quality of life in communities, and we’re excited to explore innovations that create a better today and tomorrow for all residents,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “Higher well-being and health are key to help the entire city of Phoenix rise from the pandemic stronger and better than before.”