The Blue Zones gets $5 million sponsorship

05/21/2014 2:31 PM

05/21/2014 2:31 PM

The Blue Zones Project, a healthy-city initiative that seeks to make healthy choices available to residents, got a kick-start with a $5 million sponsorship from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

Of that, $2.5 million is a community catalyst grant to encourage community participation by matching donations dollar for dollar, according to a news release.

“We share a common goal of making the healthy choice the easy choice,” Bert Marshall, president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, said in the news release.

He hopes Fort Worth will raise its $2.5 million by the end of the year.

Texas Health Resources paid $500,000 for an evaluation of Fort Worth’s suitability for the program in August, and the five-year project is to be privately funded.

Blue Zones, headed by bestselling author Dan Buettner and aided by Healthways, a Tennessee consulting company, works to make healthy choices easy for residents. Julie Wilson, a former executive for Chesapeake Energy in North Texas, is heading the Fort Worth effort and hoping to kick off events this summer.

Working with the National Geographic Society, Buettner identified five areas where people live longer and have lower rates of chronic disease and a higher quality of life.

The cities shared high vegetable consumption, high physical and social activity, family ties and friendships, a strong sense of purpose and connection to faith-based communities.

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

— Caty Hirst

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