The Blue Zones Project is a wellbeing initiative that identifies factors which improve longevity and implements these into communities. The campaign, which promotes following a vegan diet, is set to expand to Californian town, Paradise, the Paradise Post reported.
Currently, the Blue Zone Project operates within 42 communities across America and has seen more than two million people pledge to participate. The initiative is a “cooperative effort”, the Paradise Post said and focusses on six areas: citizens, community policy, grocery stores, schools, restaurants, and worksites. The initiative was proposed to Paradise’s Town Council in a March board meeting and the team are now considering the town for expansion.
The concept behind Blue Zones began when author Dan Buettner wrote an article for the National Geographic about “the secret to living longer”, the Paradise Post said. In a search for the healthiest communities around the globe, Buettner gathered data surrounding the rates of chronic disease across the world.
When compared to the world’s population, five locations stood out as the healthiest: Loma Linda, CA; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan.
The Blue Zone organization worked for 10 years to identify wellbeing-enhancing factors which appeared across all of these communities. Activity, a way to disconnect from daily stressors, a sense of belonging, family connection, purpose, and consuming a primarily plant-based diet were identified as key factors for living a happier, healthier life.
According to the Blue Zones team, how long a person lives is predominantly determined by lifestyle and environmental factors. In fact, the organization stated that 80% of longevity is due to factors the individual can control, while only 20% is down to genetics.
One such factor encourages participants to “eat more nutritious food with less calories”, specifically, to “eat with a plant slant”. Blue Zones’ website describes this as limiting meat intake and making fruit and vegetables the focus of meals. Blue Zones added that all of the centenarians in Blue Zones regions eat a plant-based diet.
Paradise town manager Lauren Gill revealed to the publication that, should the initiative go ahead, it will be “fully funded and fully initiated by private funding and private citizens.”
The Blue Zones team are currently assessing “whether or not Paradise is ready to embark on the process” of transitioning to a Blue Zones community. The team will report back to Paradise in one month.