Waterloo gathering support to become Blue Zones community - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo gathering support to become Blue Zones community


The city of Waterloo is looking to become one of the healthiest cities in Iowa and they could be one step closer Wednesday.

The Blue Zone Project committee held a meeting Wednesday at the Waterloo Center for the Arts from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Town Hall room.

The community discussed why the town should be chosen as one of the pilot sites. Waterloo is among the 11 cities that were announced as finalists in early February. The other towns are Ames, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Davenport, Mason City, Muscatine, Ottumwa, Sioux City and Spencer.

Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark said it is critical that those in the Waterloo area come to this meeting because it shows Waterloo's motivation, commitment and leadership in an effort to become a Blue Zone community.

The Blue Zone Project is a centerpiece of the Healthiest State Initiative which aims to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016 as measured by the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index®.

According to Gallup-Healthways, in 2010, Iowa ranked 19th healthiest state in the nation. Although that puts Iowa in the top half, Governor Terry Branstad said there is room for improvement.

According to the Blue Zones' website, the project is based on Blue Zones® principles developed by author Dan Buettner. The project was developed from the New York Times best-selling books The Blue Zones and Thrive—both published by National Geographic books.

The Blue Zone model has seen success as proven by Albert, Minn. raising life expectancy and lowering health care costs for city workers by 40 percent after implementing the tenets of the books in 2009.

Site visits will conclude in March and three to four pilot sites will be chosen in May. Then, this summer Blue Zones Institute will do site training for those communities.

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