PORTLAND, Ore. & NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Cambia Health Foundation is bringing Blue Zones Project® to Oregon by providing leadership funding to Oregon Healthiest State, a collaborative project of the Oregon Business Council’s Charitable Institute. Blue Zones Project is a community-based initiative offered through global well-being improvement leader Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ: HWAY) to make healthier choices easier through permanent changes to environment, policy and social networks.
“Cambia Health Foundation is committed to helping Oregonians live healthier, happier lives, and we are excited to support this effort,” said Peggy Maguire, president and board chair of the Cambia Health Foundation. “Blue Zones Project offers the tools and resources to make meaningful improvements to the health, happiness, and longevity of everyone in our community.”
Blue Zones Project was born out of National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner’s examination of communities across the globe where people were happily living the longest. Buettner uncovered nine evidence-based common denominators among these “Blue Zones,” such as moving naturally and having a sense of purpose. Buettner partnered with Healthways in 2009 to spread the Blue Zones Project throughout the United States and help communities accelerate transformation through a comprehensive set of solutions designed to improve overall well-being. These solutions have measurably lowered healthcare costs, increased productivity, and improved the quality of life for residents in those communities.
As part of Blue Zones Project in Oregon, two communities will receive assistance from national experts to develop and implement a blueprint for making permanent environment, policy and social network changes that transition people to healthier behavior. A comprehensive assessment is underway in Klamath Falls to determine whether the community has the interest, readiness and opportunities to be the first Blue Zones Project community in Oregon. In addition, a series of Blue Zones Project tools will be available to all Oregon-based organizations and residents to share evidence-based practices to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
To jump start the project, Cambia Health Foundation has pledged to match $2 for every $1 donated up to a maximum contribution of $3.5 million, part of which invests directly in Oregon communities. In Klamath Falls, the Foundation matched a $200,000 contribution from Sky Lakes Medical Center to show its commitment to the Blue Zones Project.
“Oregon Healthiest State and Cambia Health Foundation understand the potential to improve the health of individuals by making sustainable changes at the community level,” said Buettner. “We are excited to be working with these partners and with residents and community leaders in Klamath Falls to determine the most effective strategies, based on evidence-based principles from the original Blue Zones communities. Our goal is to help communities implement a series of positive changes to create an environment where healthy choices are woven into the fabric of the community.”
The 2014 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, a definitive measure of real-time changes in well-being throughout the world, ranks Oregon 27th in the nation in well-being. More than half of all adult Oregonians have at least one chronic disease, and 89 percent are at risk of developing chronic disease due to tobacco use, obesity, physical inactivity or eating too few fruits and vegetables. The Well-Being Index is the official measurement tool of the Blue Zones Project.
The launch of Blue Zones Project in Oregon follows projects in more than two dozen communities, including Albert Lea, Minnesota; Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach, California; and 15 communities across Iowa. In addition to Oregon, new Blue Zones Project initiatives recently launched in Fort Worth, Texas, Southwest Florida and Hawaii.
“We have seen firsthand the impact that Blue Zones Project has on community well-being, with positive results in lowering rates of obesity, reducing the number of smokers and increasing physical activity and healthy eating,” said Healthways interim chief executive officer Alfred Lumsdaine. “Improved well-being has been scientifically validated to improve health and lower health-related costs. By improving the built environment and implementing social policies that support and reinforce well-being improvement, we can transform communities by building an embedded and sustained well-being culture.”
About Cambia Health Foundation
Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience the health care system. A 501(c)(3) grant-making organization, the Foundation partners with organizations to create a more person-focused and economically sustainable health care system. Cambia Health Foundation’s investments in palliative care advance patient- and family-centered care that optimizes quality of life by anticipating, preventing and treating suffering. Learn more at www.cambiahealthfoundation.org, and follow us on Twitter: @CambiaHealthFdn.
About Blue Zones
Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The Company’s work is rooted in the New York Times best-selling books The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People, The Blue Zones and Thrive—all published by National Geographic books. Since 2009, Blue Zones has applied the tenets of the books to communities and corporations across the U.S. and has successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs while bringing down smoking and obesity rates. Blue Zones takes a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, building design, social networks, and the built environment. The Blue Zones Project is based on this innovative approach. For more information, visit www.bluezones.com.
Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities, and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com.