Fairfield close to Blue Zone certification
Ken Daley is feeling blue; since he owns a dog.
Thursday, Daley along with the rest of Fairfield’s Power Nine Blue Zone steering committee, will discover just how close the rest of Fairfield is to becoming a Blue Zone certified-city.
Since its quest began two years ago, Fairfield is much closer to reaching that goal. Businesses, schools and now, Jefferson County Health Center have achieved Blue Zone designation. Individuals need only make a pledge on the Blue Zone website. Those who take the pledge only need to commit to a single activity, whereas a business such as a restaurant may have several dozen changes to make.
“Schools have a lot of items to do, but a restaurant may have less,” Daley said. “For instance restaurants have to serve its entrees’ in no bigger than a 10-inch plate. People feel that they are getting more if it’s on a smaller plate they feel like they are eating more,” he continued. “It’s about trying to create an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice or at least the default choice.”
Daley, who heads-up the Power Nine said the changes can begin with something as simple as owning a pet.
Adding that pets offer their owners companionship, providing something for the owner to care for. Inadvertently, pet owners tend to exercise more. Daley said that both psychological and the physical benefits provide the owner with an increased life span.
The term, “Blue Zones” was coined by journalist Dan Buettner, who identified and conducted scientific studies on five communities from around the globe where people routinely reach the age of 100.
Buettner discovered that longevity is not an accident. According to the Blue Zone’s website, there are nine secrets to living a life that’s longer and fuller. Eating a diet rich in fruits in vegetables; living in an area where it’s easy to keep moving; working less; vacationing more; maintaining a strong romantic relationship and even having a single glass of wine with friends every day are a few ways to achieving a longer disease-free life.
However owning a dog is not the only way to improve ones health. Taking a daily walk, or pushing away from a meal before one is full can also add years to one’s life.
“Change is something that we all want to do but we need to find change that is meaningful to us,” Daley said. “The Blue Zone offers very doable activities that change and improve a life.”
And Fairfield is reaching its goal with less than 300 individuals needed to participate — down from more than 1600 individuals needed back in 2012. Less than 10 businesses are needed now.
Only about 20 percent of the town needs to participate in order for Fairfield to become Blue Zone Certified.
“Joneane Parker R.N. and vice president of clinical services, Marty Chandler R.N. health promotions and wellness manager and Nanette Everly human resources manager worked extensively for months and the hospital is thrilled and proud to receive this certification,” said Jinny Hughes, Jefferson County Health Center community relations manager.
Parker is a member of the Power Nine committee.