Inaugural Blue Zones Project Community Kickoff Event Confirmed for Salinas on Saturday, June 29th

Inaugural Blue Zones Project Community Kickoff Event Confirmed for Salinas

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Community-wide well-being improvement initiative to help make healthy choices easier for all Monterey County residents

SALINAS, Calif., May 31, 2019 — Located in the heart of one of the most beautiful regions in the world, Monterey County is renowned for its breathtaking coastal vistas, winemaking and its considerable agriculture industry. But despite the idyllic surroundings, many residents of Monterey County and Salinas are experiencing a disconnect from their community. Half of Monterey County and Salinas residents struggle to feel a sense of hope and purpose, while one in three indicate they are not proud of the community.

This disconnect has prompted Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, Taylor Farms, and Montage Health to create a community firmly rooted in a healthier tomorrow by introducing Blue Zones Project® to Monterey County. Blue Zones Project is a proven approach to helping people live longer, healthier, and happier lives based on research by National Geographic Fellow and best-selling author Dan Buettner.

Following the January announcement of the launch of Blue Zones Project in Monterey County, an inaugural Community Kickoff Event has been confirmed for June 29 in Salinas.

Salinas Mayor Joe Gunter is a strong supporter of introducing Blue Zones Project to Salinas: “Here in Salinas we are the ‘Salad Bowl’ of the world, and yet we struggle with our own health and well-being. Our vision for Salinas and Blue Zones Project is to facilitate public collaboration with businesses and private organizations to make for a healthy, livable community. For people to live longer, to experience fewer medical issues, to live happy, healthy lives with less stress and with stronger connections.

“To achieve these goals, with our partners we will strive to closely align Salinas with the Blue Zones Power 9 Principles, those common characteristics of the world’s longest-lived people: More natural movement through moderate, regular physical activity. Having a purpose in life. Taking time to down shift and reduce stress. Following the ’80% rule’ for moderate caloric intake, as we stop eating when we are 80% full. Embracing a plant slant, or plant-based diet. Moderate intake of wine with friends. Engagement in spirituality or religion through involvement in a faith-based organization. Putting our loved ones first and engaging with our families. Being a part of the right tribe, those social circles that support and encourage healthy behaviors.

“We are excited by how closely these principles align with the Alisal Vibrancy Plan in East Salinas, and the emphasis on family and community that both programs share. Since 2013, Alisal residents and community organizers have advocated for a community-driven plan focused on East Salinas designed to improve the overall quality of life by creating a more vibrant, equitable and healthy community in a way that builds upon the social and cultural wealth of Alisal residents. I anticipate similar transformation throughout Salinas as we embrace Blue Zones Project.”

“What makes the city of Salinas unique is a very wide, diverse community. Living well grows here, and it’s time for the city to work with Blue Zones Project to make Salinas the healthiest, safest and most livable city in California. I encourage all Salinas residents to participate in the Kickoff event taking place in June.”

One organization putting the community at its forefront is the United Way Monterey County, by helping make connections for a healthy, safe, and thriving county. “Through services such as 2-1-1 Monterey County, we empower people with referrals and resources they need for their health and well-being. The Blue Zones Project will help elevate the work we do in partnership with so many organizations for the betterment of our community,” shares Katy Castagna, President and CEO of the United Way Monterey County.

Dr. Britt Rios Ellis, Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Human Services at California State University, Monterey Bay, is also passionate about the opportunities Blue Zones Project will create in the community: “The ultimate goal of the diverse disciplines throughout the College is to help people live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Blue Zones Project does exactly that by providing an opportunity for us to collectively impact well-being and health equity through culturally and linguistically resonant and sustainable changes and strategies. By putting diverse environments and populations at the forefront of neighborhood programming, we can not only improve the quality and quantity of life of our community, but also serve as a model for other diverse populations throughout the nation.

“While all of the Power 9 Principles are essential to successful implementation of Blue Zones Project, I feel strongly about the ‘Right Tribe’ or social engagement principle in particular. Research confirms that both healthy and unhealthy behaviors and conditions are contagious, from smoking cessation and obesity to happiness and loneliness. Loneliness and social isolation in particular, have been shown to negatively impact health more than some substance use behaviors. The world’s longest-lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that shaped their positive conditions and healthy behaviors. With Blue Zones Project, Salinas has a unique opportunity to create strong local social circles that celebrate diversity and healthy cultural practices, thus providing both positive and sustainable support for impactful behavior change and policy shifts.”

The Kickoff offers an opportunity for attendees to experience how living in a Blue Zones Project community feels and through these activities engage them in being a part of the transformation. Participants will hear from Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner, who will share the Blue Zones story and encourage community members to participate in one or more of the many Blue Zones Project areas: Worksites, Schools, Policy, Moais, Walking School Bus, Purpose Workshop and Volunteering.

Event:              Blue Zones Project Monterey County Kickoff

Date:               Saturday, June 29, 2019

Time:               1:00pm to 4:30pm

Where:            Sherwood Hall

                          940 North Main Street

                          Salinas, CA 93901

Speaker:          Dan Buettner, New York Times Best-Selling Author of

The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People

For more information and to RSVP for the Kickoff Event:

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