Iowa City was named a certified Blue Zones Community this week, a credit to the local businesses, organizations, schools, community leaders, volunteers and City residents who have worked since 2012 to build a healthier community by incorporating the principles of the Blue Zones movement.
Based on the 2008 best-selling book by Dan Buettner, The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, the Blue Zones health initiative encourages individuals and communities to adopt wellness practices ranging from healthier foods and exercise to connecting with the “right tribe,” finding one’s purpose, and enjoying a glass of wine at the close of the day.
“We are proud to have been able to create new policies and implement change that contribute to a healthier city, but prouder still that the entire community has worked together to earn this Blue Zones certification,” said City Manager Tom Markus. “Healthier choices and more active lifestyles bring new vibrancy to Iowa City, making it an even more attractive place to live, work, and raise a family.”
An event marking the City’s new designation is planned as part of the Iowa City Freeze Fest, scheduled Saturday, Feb. 20 at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area at 4213 Sand Road SE. Scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Lodge, Freeze Fest will offer fun, educational, and recreational opportunities for the whole family, ranging from ice fishing and winter hikes to birdwatching, winter crafts, snow games, ice cream-making and more, all at no charge. The Blue Zones celebration is scheduled at 2 p.m.
Blue Zones, which is affiliated with Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Healthways, Inc., and Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative, has shown positive impact in Iowa City, reporting that more than 12,100 individuals have taken the Blue Zones Pledge and taken action to improve their well-being. In addition, 50% of the top 20 worksites -- including the City of Iowa City’s City Hall and Senior Center -- were designated as Blue Zones Worksites after implementing a series of changes to create a more healthful work environment.