FORT WORTH, Texas, Sept. 20, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Well-being has reached a new high in Fort Worth, according to the annual Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index®. Fort Worth's overall 2018 Well-Being Index score rose to 62.5, a gain of nearly four points since 2014, when the city began working with Blue Zones Project®, a community-led well-being improvement initiative. Meanwhile the U.S. Well-Being Index score—which outpaced the Fort Worth score by 3 points in 2014—is 61.3, a decline of 0.5 over the same period.
Compared annually to close to 190 metro areas reported nationally, Fort Worth's equivalent rank for well-being rose from 185th in 2014 to 58th in 2017. During that time, Blue Zones Project in Fort Worth has worked with city leaders, neighborhoods, employers, schools, restaurants, grocery stores, and faith-based organizations to optimize the environment for well-being—making it easier for people to move naturally, eat better, develop healthy social circles, and live with purpose, among other areas of focus.
Since 2014, Fort Worth has shown improvement in purpose, social, financial, community, and physical well-being—the five core elements of well-being measured by the Gallup-Sharecare survey.
"Fort Worth's latest jump in well-being, as the U.S. continues to decline, securely establishes it as a best practice example of what a community can accomplish when it sustains a focused commitment to well-being," said Dan Witters, principal at Gallup. "The work of Blue Zones Project in Fort Worth is playing an important role in the improving well-being culture and associated outcomes of the community."
Ben Leedle, Blue Zones CEO and co-founder of Blue Zones Project, said: "Fort Worth and Mayor Betsy Price have taken the lead in Texas by understanding that improved well-being leads to a healthy and productive workforce and boosts economic development and job creation."
Since 2014, Fort Worth has seen a 31 percent decrease in smoking following Blue Zones Project implementation, advocacy, and policy work. Fort Worth's smoking rate now stands at 13.5 percent. Other well-being improvements, since 2014, include a 9-point increase in residents who exercise at least 30 minutes three or more days of the week, now at 62 percent; a 3.7-point increase in those who say Fort Worth is the perfect place for them, now more than 65 percent; and a 5.6-point increase in those who say they are proud of their community, now at over 69 percent. More than 58 percent of Fort Worth respondents are now categorized as "thriving" in their general evaluations of their lives, an increase of 7.3 points. The survey revealed that 75 percent of Fort Worth residents use their strengths daily, an increase of 6.2 points since 2014.
For those engaged in Blue Zones Project activities such as Purpose Workshops, Moais (small social groups that gather to walk or share healthy meals), and plant-based cooking demonstrations, the differences were even more pronounced. The survey showed that those Fort Worth residents reported higher levels of exercise and produce consumption, lower cholesterol, and increased feelings of productivity. Among residents active in the initiative, the Well-Being Index score is 68.6—more than six points above the citywide average.
"Healthy cities are vibrant places where people want to live, work, and play, and that describes Fort Worth now more than ever," said Mayor Betsy Price. "Through our health and wellness efforts, including the important work that has taken place with Blue Zones Project, we're making healthy choices easier—and that's driving real, positive change."
"Texas Health is committed to Blue Zones Project and other community-based initiatives that improve the health and well-being of residents by encouraging healthy habits," said Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health Resources, lead sponsor of Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth. "We think these kinds of programs are how we begin going upstream and addressing social determinants of health. If we can address obstacles to well-being before someone becomes ill or develops a chronic condition, we can make Fort Worth the envy of cities across the country."
Invited to Fort Worth by Mayor Price, Texas Health Resources, and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Blue Zones Project launched in February 2015. Since then, more than 300 businesses and organizations have made changes that improve the health of their employees and customers, while over 87,000 Fort Worth residents have taken personal actions that improve their and their neighbors' health.
"We've been working hard to move the needle when it comes to well-being, and the Well-Being Index results show we're on the right track," said Michael Acker, SVP and general manager of Blue Zones Project. "Fort Worth has made great improvements in the past few years, and we believe we'll see that trend continue. The investments that have been made thus far will positively impact the community and its residents for years to come."
About Blue Zones Project
Blue Zones Project® is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city's environment, policy, and social networks. Established in 2010, Blue Zones Project is inspired by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author who identified five regions of the world—or Blue Zones® regions—with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older. Blue Zones Project incorporates Buettner's findings and works with cities to implement policies and programs that will move a community toward optimal health and well-being. Currently, 46 communities in 10 states have joined Blue Zones Project, impacting more than 3.3 million Americans nationwide. The movement includes three beach cities in California; 15 cities in Iowa; Albert Lea, Minnesota; the city of Fort Worth; and communities in Southwest Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Blue Zones Project is a partnership of Blue Zones, LLC, and Sharecare, Inc. For more information, visit bluezonesproject.com.
SOURCE Blue Zones Project