Let’s Become A Blue Zone

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I’d like to invite you to a very important meeting on Monday, September 26, 6-9 pm at Kapolei High School, to learn about the Blue Zones Project.

You may have been hearing about this as my office is working together with Councilmember Pine’s to contact key individuals and leaders to help us with the next phase of the application process.

Our hope is for Ewa Beach and Kapolei (96706 and 96707) to become designated as a Blue Zones Project area. We’re competing with five different areas in the state!  Earning this designation presents numerous opportunities for us, and is based on tenets that have been shown to be highly successful in helping people to make positive changes that lead to healthier and happier lives.

 Blue Zones Overview

For those of you who are unfamiliar with or need a refresher on the Blue Zones Project, here’s a Link to Blue Zones Project Overview Video.  Feel free to contact Scott Stensrud, Executive Director Community Programs for Blue Zones Project Hawaii scott.stensrud@healthways.com for additional information.

What is it?

  • A well-being improvement initiative, funded by HMSA, and inspired by the book, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, written by Dan Buettner.
  • Buettner wrote about the five places in the world – “Blue Zones” – where people live the longest, and are healthiest: (Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; and Nicoya, Costa Rica.) The book has now evolved into a global movement.
  • The Project goal is to inspire people to live longer, more active lives with lower rates of chronic disease. The Project is dedicated to helping towns become better places to live, work and play.
  • The meeting on September 26th begins the process of reaching out to community leaders to help us show why Ewa/Kapolei should be selected to participate in this great program. We’ll have break-out sessions and a stimulating conversation on how we can improve the lives and well-being of those in our community by being a part of the Blue Zones Project.

 What’s the goal?

  • The project goal is to inspire people to live longer, more active lives w/lower rates of chronic disease.
  • Based on the premise that 20% of our genes determine how long the average person lives, and up to 80% of our health and longevity is determined by our environment… optimizing our surroundings can add years and quality of to our lives.

 Where are the current designated Blue Zones sites in Hawai‘i?

  • East Hawaii
  • North Hawaii on the Big Island
  • Windward Oahu
  • Kauai

How does it work?

  • Phase 1: Application: Has been submitted and accepted.
  • Phase 2: Site Visit: Community pitch on “Why we should be selected.”
  • The community is represented by a Leadership Committee that pulls the “Influencers” together.
  • The influencers need to be a committed group of people, because HMSA doesn’t want the project to fail. Whoever is chosen has to prove they’re committed.
  • Influencers need to be identified from 5 specific areas of the community:
  1. Worksites
  2. Restaurants
  3. Grocery Stores
  4. Schools
  5. Faith-based Communities

 Who does the work?

  • The Leadership Committee organizes events to show this to the community.
  • Volunteers from each of the five sectors identify others to show this to.
  • Scott Stensrud and his local Blue Zones team give the presentations.
  • Once the area is chosen, four staff positions are funded by HMSA to implement the program locally.

Phase 1 Completed – Application Accepted

On July 29th we submitted a Statement of Interest (Phase 1 application) on behalf of zipcodes 96706 and 96707 (Ewa Beach and Kapolei) to be considered for selection as a Blue Zones Project area.    Our application was accepted as one of five areas in the state to be considered.  We are now preparing for Phase 2 – a Site Visit by the national site selection committee.

Phase 2 Underway – Site Selection Community Meeting, Monday Sep 26th, 6:00 p.m.

Please save the date for this important meeting on Monday, Sep 26th, 6-9 p.m., Kapolei High School.  A community team will give a presentation to the Site Selection Committee to show Community Factors, Motivation and Readiness/Commitment to be designated and receive support as a Blue Zones Community.  About a week after the presentation we can expect to hear if our community is selected.

What Do We Do Now?

  • Register to attend the Blue Zones Site Selection Presentation on Sep 26thLink to Eventbrite or simply e-mail me that you’re coming.
  • Invite leaders and key individuals from these various sectors to attend:  Schools; Faith Based Organizations; Worksites, Community Policy; Media/Civic Groups/Non-Profit Organizations; Grocery/Restaurants.  (In order to make Blue Zones work, we need representation from across the community.)
  • Sign the attached Leadership Pledge, return it to our office or bring to the meeting.

Please feel free to contact my office if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you on Sep 26th.

Best wishes to you and your ‘ohana and have a good weekend.

 

Me ke aloha pumehana,

Senator_Gabbard

 

 

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