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BDCH Brings Blue Zones Project to Dodge County

BDCH Brings Blue Zones Project to Dodge CountyBeaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc., and Healthways, Inc. today announced the launch of a Blue Zones Project® in Dodge County, the first in Wisconsin. Blue Zones Project is a growing nationwide well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier - community by community - through permanent changes to environment, policy and social networks.
 
Blue Zones Project draws upon more than 200 evidence-based practices to help restaurants, schools, churches, grocery stores, and worksites make sustainable changes that encourage healthier choices.
 
“We have seen a lot of excitement about bringing Blue Zones Project to Dodge County, and we look forward to engaging the whole county in this effort,” said Kim Miller, FACHE, president and CEO of Beaver Dam Community Hospitals, Inc. “We believe that investing in this unique, evidence-based, environmental approach to community well-being will transform our county for the better, improving quality of life for generations to come.” Miller went on to acknowledge the Healthy Communities, Healthy Lives Committee and their grass roots efforts to support the journey to improve the health and wellness of Dodge County to date. 
 
Blue Zones, which leverages public-private partnerships, was founded by National Geographic Fellow and best-selling author Dan Buettner. Working with Blue Zones Project, Dodge County will receive support from national experts to implement a comprehensive plan for improving community health and wellness. Outcomes are measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®.
 
“We commend Beaver Dam Community Hospitals for their leadership in embracing innovative strategies such as Blue Zones Project that improve health and well-being,” said Katrina Worlund, Healthways senior vice president, Blue Zones Project. “Communities with greater well-being have lower health care costs, higher productivity, and are recognized among the best places to live, work, and play. With its dedication to well-being improvement, Beaver Dam Community Hospitals distinguishes itself as a pioneer in health and disease prevention.”
 
Initial Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey results provide key insight into Dodge County’s successes and opportunities when it comes to community health. The area boasts a lower-than-average smoking rate, but obesity is well above the national average at 34 percent. Social well-being, one of five elements of well-being, in the area is also low, though overall well-being is above average for Wisconsin and the nation.
 
Dodge County joins 27 communities in seven states that have launched Blue Zones Project. Community members and organizations in Dodge County are encouraged to get involved with Blue Zones Project programs and offerings. While leading the way by being the first in Wisconsin, the goal is to become the healthiest county in the state.
 
Buettner founded Blue Zones Project based on his research into “Blue Zones®,” regions where people are most likely to reach age 100 and beyond.  They are Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Costa Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Sardinia, Italy.
 
“I’m looking forward to seeing an incredible transformation to come in Dodge County,” Buettner said. “In Blue Zones, people live in cultures that make the healthy choice nearly inevitable. It’s difficult to change individual behaviors when community behaviors stay the same. While we support individual responsibility, Blue Zones Project focuses on changes to the environment, so that impacts the well-being of residents.”
 
For more information on Blue Zones Project in Dodge County, or to learn how to participate, visit dodgecounty.bluezonesproject.com.
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