WATCH NOW: Blue Zones promotes to community leaders | Local
If the leaders of Columbus get together and decide to move forward, the next phase is to determine the scope of the project. At this point, the Blue Zones team is looking at what’s working and not working in Columbus and recommending changes to fix the issues.
The goal of these changes is to facilitate healthy living by addressing the environment and structure of a community, including access to healthy food, recreation areas and social activities.
Buettner said the CCH country house project is a good example of this type of investment. Pedestrian parks, town centers and community gardens are also useful.
Blue zone projects also challenge businesses to implement changes designed to promote healthy lifestyles.
After several months of information gathering and planning, Buettner said the Blue Zones team would then develop a two or four year plan.
“Our goal is not to be in a community in perpetuity,” Buettner said.
Rather, the process is designed for the community to take the lead.
Blue zone projects are not cheap, however. Buettner said it was costing Albert Lea, Minnesota, $ 1 million a year, which was one of the first communities to undertake a blue zones project.
However, Buettner said blue zone projects were never funded by taxpayers. Usually, he said, they are supported by local health organizations and community foundations.