Communities are being designated as “blue zones” to suggest they promote healthier living and longevity. Some 80 U.S. locales are part of the Blue Zone Project initiative.

NEW YORK – Certified “blue zones” like Ave Maria in southwest Florida aim to promote healthy living and longevity, but some prospective buyers and others wonder if it is just another marketing gimmick.

Dan Buettner, an explorer for National Geographic, coined the term “blue zone” when investigating areas around the globe where people lived to age 100 or more. He found that residents in these areas lived longer, healthier lives because they stayed active, formed long-lasting social ties and ate plant-based meals, among other practices.

Blue Zones, the company using Buettner’s research, is now not only certifying products but also towns and cities that meet healthy lifestyle criteria. Some of these Blue Zone initiatives are funded by health care systems and insurance companies and promote solutions like biking paths, smoking bans and group activities that foster a sense of belonging.

There are 80 places across the United States that have adopted Blue Zone Projects, but critics are concerned that real-estate projects are not focused on the healthy living aspects of the concept. Buettner, however, says that the research aims to inform companies on how to modify environments to make healthy choices easier.

Source: New York Times (01/21/24) Margolies, Jane

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