Branstad launches "Blue Zone" to make Iowa healthiest state - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Branstad launches "Blue Zone" to make Iowa healthiest state

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

As a part of the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative, Governor Terry Branstad helped launch the Blue Zones Project on Tuesday. 

"The Blue Zones Project is a community by community, business by business movement that will help Iowa communities make a lasting difference in their health and well-being," Iowa Governor Terry Branstad said in a written statement. "By making changes to our environment and social networks, Iowans can not only live longer, we can also live better."

The project uses third party research and direct studies to identify the world's best practices in longevity and well-being and collaborates with the University of Minnesota School of Public Health to develop lifestyle management tools.

In 2009, a 10-month pilot project in Albert Lea, Minnesota saw residents increase their projected life expectancy by 2.9 years. Employers also reported a drop in healthcare claims cost and in absenteeism.

Starting Tuesday, communities can start the process to becoming Blue Zones Communities.  A statement of interest is due by October 28 and applications are due by January 4, 2012.

Finalists will be announced in February and the 10 communities that demonstrate the greatest passion, interest and ability to bring their community together will be announced in May. Those selected will receive assistance from national experts to develop and implement a blueprint for making permanent environment, policy and social network changes that transition people into healthier behaviors. 

Interested communities may can sign up by visiting www.bluezonesproject.com.  

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