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Blue Zones Beyond the Kickoff

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Blue Zones: Beyond the Kickoff

Hospital news | Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Contact: Thomas Hottman

Since Blue Zones Project hosted a kickoff event in Klamath Falls over a month ago, the initiative to create a healthier and longer-living community has hosted several other events and continues to gain participation. Two grocery stores, nine restaurants, 10 civic organizations and 17 worksites are working to become Blue Zones Project Approved. The organizations have to choose from a menu of items, and fulfill two-thirds of those items to become a Blue Zones Project Approved.

Some worksite checklist items include creating a wellness committee or a quiet place for people to downshift, said Erin Cox, Klamath Falls Blue Zones Project organization lead.

Since the kickoff

The Klamath Falls Blue Zones Project recently put on a civic organization summit where project leaders shared the benefits of implementing the project in social advocacy establishments and what they can do to be a part of it.

The project also hosted a restaurant and grocery store summit, which specifically caters to the food and beverage industry on how they can incorporate Blue Zones’ principles. Over 50 people representing different organizations across the community attended the event.

Some examples of changes that fall under Blue Zone principles for restaurants include making salt available only upon request and providing salad and fruit rather than fries with a meal.

As for grocery stores, changes may result in replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water in coolers at the end of checkout lanes. Both Fred Meyer and Sherm’s Thunderbird market decided to work toward becoming Blue Zones approved.

Upcoming events

There are several events coming up at the end of April and in May.

At the Gaucho Collective, 1038 Main St., Blue Zones is hosting a question and answer forum about the project from 5 to 7 p.m. today.

Cort Cox, Klamath Falls' Blue Zones Project engagement lead, said the Q and A is an opportunity for people to ask questions, share stories and interact with the local team members to learn about the project.

“It is a community based project, we want to make sure we have plenty of opportunities for community members to learn about the project and ask some questions and talk about what’s on people’s minds,” Cox said.

Built environment

From May 12 to 15 Blue Zones is putting on several built environment workshops, meaning building a healthy neighborhood and making sure a residents’ neighborhood is walkable and livable for all users.

Later in the month, the walking moai (moe-eye) launch will be held on May 25 at Steen Sports Park. The launch will establish Klamath Falls moais, a Japanese word for social support groups, where community members can form a group to walk and socialize with. The groups are meant to increase social networking and moving naturally.

Another May event includes bike/walk/run to work day on the 20th. The day is meant to encourage human-power commute options, and is a partnership between Sky Lakes Medical Center, Oregon Institute of Technology, Blue Zones and Klamath Falls Bike to Work.

Other events in the month of May include a faith-based organization forum, and a moving naturally and healthy behaviors session.

“The goals over the next coming weeks are to really get people participating and get people more involved with the project,” Cox said.

“We kicked off in March and that was a great opportunity to teach people about the project, and that education is ongoing but we also want to make sure that people have an opportunity to engage and get involved in the project in a way that fits their lifestyle.”

How to get involved

For more information visit Blue Zones Project Facebook page, or their website at