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Pete’s Perspective: Celebrating the Fourth Anniversary of Blue Zones Project Monterey County

Pete’s Perspective: Celebrating the Fourth Anniversary of Blue Zones Project Monterey County

Media Contact: Karina Rusk

Four years ago, we celebrated the launch of a healthy living initiative in Salinas that now reaches across Monterey County. Salinas Valley Health, Taylor Farms and Montage Health united to bring Blue Zones Project Monterey County to our region with a June 29, 2019 kickoff.

Salinas became the first city in Northern California to launch a Blue Zones Project effort, joining – at that time – 47 communities in 10 states nationwide. Blue Zones Project promotes sustainable common-sense changes that encourage healthier lifestyles. It transforms the environments where people live, work and play to make the healthy choice easy. The successes of the initiative are visible and measurable.

In 2021, Blue Zones Project launched in Peninsula Cities and Monterey County project areas with final expansion to South Monterey County in summer 2022. The staggered approach allowed each community to build on successes from neighboring communities.

Blue Zones Project Monterey County works in collaboration with individuals and a wide range of organizations to align and elevate the great things taking place in our community. When the entire community participates, small changes add up to significant benefits. Policy change is a driving force behind Blue Zones Project transformation.

The Blue Zones Project Monterey County team works with organizations to nudge people to move more, eat better, increase socialization and reduce stress. These include community walking groups, walking school buses, walking meetings at work, breakrooms stocked with nutritious snacks, grocery stores featuring healthy items at check-out aisles, restaurants providing healthful menu choices, beach and park cleanups, family-friendly outdoor events, and more.

With its countywide expansion in 2022, Blue Zones Project Monterey County is now active throughout our region, reaching all ages. In 50 worksites, Blue Zones Project is supporting preventative benefit utilization in support of employee well-being, measuring outcomes related to reduction in healthcare claims. In schools, over 10,330 students have completed diabetes education modules and learned about the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages on their health. In partnership with approved schools, almost 30 school gardens have activated. More than 50 restaurants offer Blue Zones Project inspired dishes, helping make the healthy choice the easy choice. Grocery stores, faith-based institutions, service clubs and other organizations participate as well. Over 30,000 people have engaged in the project throughout Monterey County with thousands of volunteers giving of their time.

For 70 years, Salinas Valley Health has been committed to helping our community rise in good health. We are proud to have brought Blue Zones Project Monterey County to our region and to see the difference it is making in the lives of the diverse communities we serve.

Visit the Blue Zones Project Monterey County website to learn how you can get involved. It is a great way to improve your own health and well-being and, in doing so, help make this beautiful place we call home a stronger and more vibrant community.

Be safe and be well.

– Pete

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