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Fort Worth kicks off Blue Zones effortJuly 18, 2013
Photo by Alyson Peyton Perkins
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and other cyclists pedal through Fort Worth as part of the Blue Zones Project city bike tour. The procession left Embassy Suites Fort Worth Downtown at dawn on Thursday July 18.
By A. Lee Graham
Health care – at home and in the workplace – underscores the Blue Zones initiative under way in Fort Worth.
Gathered at the Fort Worth Club on July 15, area employers, elected officials and others helped kick off the Blue Zones project assessment for Fort Worth.
“Fort Worth already has many of the assets in place that are part of the Blue Zones formula,” said Bill Thornton, president of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce in a news release.
The Blue Zone approach denotes identifying a demographic or geographic area where people enjoy unusually long lifespans. The term comes from author Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From People Who Live The Longest.
The effort is a community initiative to make healthy choices easier through changes in environment, policy and social networks. By helping people live longer and healthier through behavioral change, proponents of the concept believe communities can lower health care costs, improve productivity and gain national recognition as desired places to live, work and play.
“For businesses that provide employee insurance coverage, the wellness component in corporate health care is indispensable to contain costs, maintain high productivity and improve employee morale,” Thornton said.
Partnering to bring Blue Zones methodology to Texas are Texas Health Resources and Healthways Inc.
“Together, we are developing a new model for health services in North Texas, one that we believe will improve the health of the people in the communities we serve,” said Barclay E. Berdan, chief operating officer for Texas Health Resources.
Mayor Betsy Price has high hopes for the program.
“Fort Worth would be on the cutting edge with this project,” Price said. “I’m optimistic our leaders, the business community and our citizens will embrace this effort,” Price said.