(Des Moines) Iowa’s smaller cities now have better odds to become Blue Zone Communities thanks to an overwhelming interest in the project. Wellmark plans to expand their resources from the original ten communities to at least 20. This project is a centerpiece of the Healthiest State Initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016, as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well being Index.
Courtney Greene, of Wellmark Media Relations says many things stuck out as project officials reviewed the small city applications. "Their readiness and ability to organize people and their resources is much different in a small community that in a larger community," stated Greene, adding that they saw a need to put additional resources together.
"We have been trying to develop Blue Zone communities across the state of Iowa and really our goal is to make every community a Blue zone community. So it was announced last week that they are going to add additional resources which will allow more small cities to be on the final list of Blue Zone Communities."
Greene says this change in program implementation will multiply the opportunities for all communities across the state; from the original commitment of 10 demonstration sites to many more. In the first application round, 84 communities indicated an interest in becoming Blue Zones Project demonstration sites. Of these 84 communities, 58 were asked to submit a comprehensive application. On January 4, 2012, 54 communities submitted their applications to continue their journey to become a demonstration site.
The smaller communities Blue Zone site finalists will be named next month.
February 16, 2012