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 hawaii.bluezonesproject.com.
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
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
“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.”
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.”
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 hmsa.com.
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 www.bluezones.com.
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 www.healthways.com.