HMSA and Healthways Launch Blue Zones Project® to Improve the Well-Being of Hawaii Residents | Business Wire



Zones, LLC, and Healthways

(NASDAQ: HWAY) today announced the launch of the Blue

Zones Project® in Hawaii, a major initiative to improve

the well-being and longevity of all Hawaii residents. The Blue Zones

Project brings together citizens, schools, employers, restaurants,

grocery stores and community leaders to improve the living environment

so the healthy choice is not only easy but often unavoidable.

Hawaii communities interested in participating in the Blue Zones Project

may review application steps at

A select number of Hawaii communities will be designated as Blue Zones

Communities. Those that are 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. Key dates in the selection process are

as follows:

  • September 15 is the deadline to schedule a visit to learn more

    about the Blue Zones Project and the community selection process.

  • October 1-15, the Blue Zones Project team will conduct

    community educational visits.

  • October 31 is the deadline to submit a statement of interest.

  • November 13-21, community site visits will occur.

Community selection will take place in 2015.

“HMSA’s overarching goal is to advance the health and well-being of

every resident of Hawaii,” said Michael A. Gold, HMSA’s president and

chief executive officer. “The Blue Zones Project is one of HMSA’s most

important initiatives to drive this transformation in Hawaii. We’re

excited to be partnering with Healthways and the Blue Zones organization

to further our vision for a healthier Hawaii.”

The Blue Zones Project was born out of National Geographic explorer Dan

Buettner’s examination of communities across the globe where people

were happily living the longest. Buettner uncovered nine evidence-based

common denominators among these “Blue Zones,” such as moving naturally

and having a sense of purpose.

Buettner partnered with Healthways in 2009 to bring the Blue Zones

Project to the United States and help communities accelerate

transformation through a comprehensive set of solutions designed to

improve overall well-being. These solutions have measurably lowered

healthcare costs, increased productivity, and improved the quality of

life for residents in those communities. The Blue Zones Project Hawaii

initiative follows the successful examples set by Albert Lea, Minnesota,

California’s Beach Cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo

Beach and a major ongoing project for the state of Iowa. An additional

Blue Zones Project initiative recently launched in Fort Worth, Texas.

Buettner recently introduced the Blue Zones Project to a group of local

community government and business leaders who gathered at Kapiolani

Community College to learn how they could get involved.

“The longest-lived people don’t run marathons or pump iron,” Buettner

told the attendees. “They live in environments that naturally promote

physical movement, where it is easy to walk to the store, to their

friends’ houses or their place of worship. Their friends are

healthy-minded and supportive. Plant-based food is the cheapest and most

edible food, and time-honored recipes are followed to make vegetables

taste good.

“The traditions that are producing long-lived people in Blue Zones are

similar to Hawaii’s traditions. Notions of kuleana, or

responsibility and concern, and ohana, or family, figure into

health better than drugs do. To achieve lasting transformation, we must

integrate these traditions with proven Blue Zones programs designed to

help Hawaii residents make healthy choices the easy choices.”

The Gallup-Healthways

Well-Being Index® is the official measurement tool of the

Blue Zones Project in Hawaii. The Well-Being Index is the preeminent

source for well-being data in the United States and globally. The

questions that make up the survey were scientifically designed by some

of the world’s leading experts in economics, psychology and health to

thoroughly measure how respondents are faring in all five elements of

well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical.

Although Hawaii consistently ranks as one of the healthiest states in

the nation in overall well-being, as measured by the Well-Being Index,

leaders have identified significant opportunity for improvement in

certain areas, including work environment. Hawaii’s overall well-being

ranking dropped from #1 in 2012 to #8 in 2013.

“As powerful as individual well-being improvement programs can be, the

degree of impact they can have is contained to an extent by

environmental factors that are typically outside the control of any one

individual or business,” said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., Healthways president

and chief executive officer. “Sustained transformation depends on having

a built environment and social policies that support and reinforce these

programs. The Blue Zones Project is a program designed to help

residents, businesses and community leaders come together to optimize

longevity and community-wide well-being, and we look forward to

partnering with HMSA to spread this proven well-being improvement

initiative through Hawaii.”

About HMSA

Caring for the people of Hawaii is our promise and our privilege.

Working together with employers, partners, and physicians and other

health care providers, we promote wellness; develop reliable, affordable

health plans; and support members with clear, thoughtful guidance.

HMSA is the most experienced health plan in the state, covering more

than half of Hawaii’s population. As a recognized leader, we embrace our

responsibility to strengthen the health and well-being of our community.

Headquartered on Oahu with centers statewide to serve our members, HMSA

is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

For more information, visit

About Blue Zones

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer,

better. The Company’s work is rooted in the New York Times best-selling

books The Blue Zones and Thrive – both published by National Geographic

books. In 2009, Blue Zones applied the tenets of the books to Albert

Lea, MN and successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care

costs for city workers by 40%. Blue Zones takes a systematic,

environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing

policy, building design, social networks, and the built environment. The

Blue Zones Project is based on this innovative approach. For more

information, visit

About Healthways

Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being

improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one

person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to

produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers,

which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals,

physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We

provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and

their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and

productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by

addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a

given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology

infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now

serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at