SALINAS, Calif., Jan. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, Taylor Farms, Montage Health, Blue Zones, LLC, and Sharecare, Inc. announce the launch of Blue Zones Project® in Monterey County, California. Blue Zones Project is a growing nationwide well-being improvement initiative that makes healthy choices easier through permanent and semi-permanent changes to a community's built environment, policy, and social networks.
Leveraging public-private partnerships and based on research by National Geographic Fellow and best-selling author Dan Buettner, Blue Zones Project draws upon more than 200 evidence-based practices to help community leaders, restaurants, schools, faith-based organizations, grocery stores, and worksites make sustainable changes that encourage healthier choices. This focus on taking an environmental approach to well-being has already helped other Blue Zones Project communities achieve unprecedented success in moving the needle in improving population health.
Monterey County will receive support from national Blue Zones Project experts to implement a comprehensive plan for improving community well-being.
"We applaud our sponsors for their leadership in embracing population health innovations, such as Blue Zones Project, that enhance quality of life and help tackle health challenges like diabetes and obesity," said Michael Acker, general manager, Blue Zones Project. "With this forward-thinking approach to well-being improvement, Monterey County changemakers will positively impact the overall health of the community and its residents for years to come."
Blue Zones Project will begin its focus in Salinas before expanding to other areas of the county. While widely known as "the Salad Bowl of the World," many Salinas residents suffer from food insecurity, and three in seven do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. Seven in 10 are overweight or obese, half of residents struggle with hope and purpose, and high diabetes and cancer rates are major concerns for patients and providers alike.
"Our sponsors, in partnership with Blue Zones Project, look forward to increasing social connectedness, providing more access to healthy foods, and improving overall health outcomes," said Tiffany DiTullio, executive director for Monterey County Blue Zones Project. "The project will optimize our efforts to prevent chronic disease through a focus on health and well-being. Successful efforts of the Beach Cities communities in Southern California, and 47 other communities, illustrate that Blue Zones Project can help accelerate our work, deepening and expanding engagement with worksites, grocery stores, restaurants, and other community organizations while providing structure for collaboration on important policy initiatives."
Buettner identified the original Blue Zones as five regions of the world with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older. They are Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Sardinia, Italy.
"The original blue zones longevity hotspots had environments and cultures where healthy choices and activities were built into daily life, and were nearly inevitable for all," said Ben Leedle, CEO of Blue Zones and Co-Founder of Blue Zones Project. "Our team works with community leaders to adopt those best practices and create lasting changes in man-made surroundings that support well-being. I'm looking forward to collaborating for the transformation of Monterey County."
Community members and organizations in Monterey County will be given the opportunity to get involved with Blue Zones Project programs and offerings.
For more information on Blue Zones Project in Salinas, or to learn how to participate, visit bluezonesprojectsalinas.com.
About Salinas Valley Memorial Health System
Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS) is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the region through an integrated network of health care initiatives, services and facilities. In addition to an acute care, 263-bed, public district hospital founded in 1953, the system includes Salinas Valley Medical Clinic, a multi-location clinic expanding access to primary and specialty care and 13 urgent care locations. SVMHS is one of the area's largest employers with 1800 people and is a leader in providing nationally recognized quality care including a Level III NICU in partnership with Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford. SVMHS is also co-owners of Aspire Health Plan, Monterey County's only Medicare Advantage program, For more, visit www.svmh.com.
About Montage Health
Montage Health is the local, nonprofit parent company of a family of organizations dedicated to improving lives by delivering exceptional care and inspiring the pursuit of optimal health. Through its subsidiaries and its partnerships with doctors and other clinicians, healthcare and community organizations, and, most importantly community members, Montage Health is dedicated to care that is coordinated across all care settings to meet each person's goals and needs. Montage Health companies include Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Montage Medical Group, Montage Health Foundation, Montage Wellness Center, Aspire Health Plan, and Community Health Innovations.
About Taylor Farms
Taylor Farms is North America's favorite maker of salads and healthy fresh foods. Taylor Farms is grounded in a commitment to quality with products harvested, packaged and shipped at the peak of freshness. Taylor Farms focuses on innovation by consistently developing new products and improving production methods. Taylor Farms is family owned and based in Salinas, California with fourteen production facilities throughout North America.
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 was founded by and is based on research by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author who identified five cultures of the world—or blue zones —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, 48 communities in 11 states have joined Blue Zones Project, impacting more than 3.4 million Americans nationwide. The population health solution includes two Health Districts in California; 15 cities in Iowa; Albert Lea, Minnesota; the city of Fort Worth, Texas; Corry, Pennsylvania; 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