Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Virginia Beach is trying to become a ‘Blue Zone.’ Here’s what that means

VIRGINIA BEACH — What is the secret to longevity?

Find out during a community interest meeting at the Virginia Beach Convention Center on June 6 at 6 p.m.

According to a news release from the city, researchers have identified five areas around the world, dubbed “Blue Zones” that are home to the most centenarians — people who live to be 100 years old or more.

Nine common characteristics, called the Power 9, represent shared practices in these Blue Zones. Their work has evolved into an initiative to help communities around the world transform in ways that will help people live longer, healthier lives by optimizing their lifestyle and environment.

“The Blue Zones initiative offers a comprehensive and inclusive opportunity for collaborative partnerships between citizens, businesses, schools, restaurants and grocery stores toward the achievement of an international community brand of health, longevity and wellness for our City,” said City Councilwoman Shannon Kane.

Related story: The ‘silver tsunami’ is quickly approaching. What can Virginia Beach do to prepare?

At the community interest meeting, Blue Zones co-founder Nick Buettner will discuss ways to improve overall health in Virginia Beach as the city, in partnership with Tide Swimming, examines the viability of transforming into a Blue Zones community.

According to the city, research on which the Blue Zones concept was founded has been featured in National Geographic, Time Magazine and a New York Times Best-Seller, “The Blue Zones Project.”

More than 30 cities throughout the United States have already earned or are in the process of earning a Blue Zones designation.

Some of those communities have experienced double-digit drops in obesity, smoking and body mass index. A number of them have also saved millions in health care costs and experienced measurable drops in employee absenteeism.

“There are really two things we love about this Blue Zones concept,” said Katherine Arris-Wilson, president of Tide Swimming. “One, it’s an opportunity to elevate the health and wellness for everyone in the city and two, it’s something that could help brand Virginia Beach as a city known for healthy living.”

To learn more about the initiative, check out this video . For information, call the city manager’s office at 757-385-4242.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required for admission. RSVP and register here.

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