Wednesday, August 26, 2015
What is the recipe for living a long, healthy, happy life? Dan Buettner has been researching this for nearly a decade.
For nearly a decade, Dan Buettner has been researching so-called Blue Zones – those areas of the world where people live longer, healthier and happier than anywhere else on the planet.
After identifying where the zones are (Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; parts of Sardinia; Loma Linda, California; and Nicoya, Costa Rica), Buettner proceeded to study the factors that appear to contribute the residents’ longevity. And then, he took it a step further, founding the Blue Zones Project, the largest preventive health care initiative in the United States, so far estimated to have reached 5 million people.
Funded largely by insurance companies, the Blue Zones Project focuses on restructuring communities so that healthy choices are also easy choices. Changes might include new sidewalks, establishing friendship groups, re-arranging supermarkets to highlight healthy foods, and even reorganizing family kitchens.
The results have been dramatic: In Albert Lea, Minnesota, the average life expectancy rose by nearly three years and health care costs for city workers there dropped by 40 percent. In Spencer, Iowa, healthcare costs for city workers dropped by 25 percent. And in the Beach Cities, California, smoking rates declined by nearly 30 percent.
Buettner writes about his efforts in his new book “The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People,” which also includes recipes and lists of do’s and don’ts. He talks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about his new book and his efforts.
Book Excerpt: ‘The Blue Zones Solution’
Introduction: Discovering the Blue Zones Solution