Blue Zones Fort Worth Kicks Off on Saturday

Initiative Aims to Improve Community's Health

From bus bench ads to guerilla marketing in high traffic areas, it's hard to miss the signs that read "Live Long Fort Worth" across town.

The signs, including the hopscotch guerrilla ads, are for the Blue Zones Project, a new initiative aimed at improving Cowtown's health and it's attractiveness to residents and businesses alike.

Blue Zones has been in Fort Worth for about a year and a half, but on Saturday Feb. 21 the program officially kicks-off and building health neighborhoods workshops will begin within in days. The workshops are just one of many events and activities Blue Zones employees are putting together.

"Blue Zones is about making healthy choices easier in Fort Worth and we look forward to bringing a lot of value to the community by improving walkability, livability and all around making Fort Worth, and keeping Fort Worth, a wonderful place to live, work and play," said Suzanne Duda, vice president for Blue Zones Fort Worth.

Blue Zones was created by author Dan Buettner after he studied ways in which people live longer, happier and healthier lives. Fort Worth is the largest city to become a Blue Zones demonstration city, with a goal of becoming a Blue Zones certified community.

But the project isn't just focused on eating better and staying active. Blue Zones also wants to help people find what their purpose is, how to improve their social lives, how to de-stress from financial issues and make communities safer to live in.

"It's encouraging people to know their neighbors, to go to a front porch community as we use to say," said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

Mayor Price helped sign the city on as a sponsor of the program. The city has been joined by Texas Health Resources, the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Tarrant County, Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, Cook Children's Health Care System and the United Way of Tarrant County.

Blue Zones was a natural fit for the mayor, as the Fit Worth campaign has already shown results with the obesity rate dropping by four-percent at Fort Worth Independent School District. Offering fit options has become a priority for Mayor Price and the city.

"One of the reasons that it is, is that it's great for the city," Mayor Price said. "It's about great community engagement. It's about economic development, if nothing else. Businesses come in and they want to know about the healthier community."

It's a big effort that will find success with how many people and businesses join in, but Duda says it's really about the little things.

"Look for small things we can do in our daily lives to improve our own health and well-being," she said.

The Blue Zones kick-off happens Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Will Rogers Memorial Complex in Fort Worth.

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