Blue Zones Project Oskaloosa Announces Designated BLUE ZONES worksite

Mahaska Health Partnership recently became a Blue Zone Work site.

Mahaska Health Partnership recently became a Blue Zone Work site. (submitted photo)

Oskaloosa, Iowa – July 21, 2014 – Blue Zones Projectョ Oskaloosa today announced Mahaska Health Partnership has been named a designated Blue Zones Worksiteョ. A special ribbon cutting ceremony was held July 25 to celebrate.

Mahaska Health Partnership was designated after completing the necessary items in the Blue Zones Project worksite pledge, including successfully registering more than 25 percent of their employees to pledge and take action on www.bluezonesproject.com.

“We are proud to be part of the movement that we believe will help improve the quality and length of life of Oskaloosa residents,” said Jay Christensen, CEO of MHP.

MHP completed designation criteria in the areas of leadership, purpose, habitat and physical environment, engagement and creation of social networks, policies and benefits, and well-being solutions.

“The Blue Zones Project team is thrilled that our local hospital has taken the initiative to become a designated Blue Zones Worksite,” said Organizational Lead Valinn McReynolds. “By completing this important work, they have demonstrated their commitment to creating a healthier work environment by supporting the well-being of their employees.”

MHP is also providing office space on its campus for the Blue Zones Project community team. “As we look at the future of healthcare, it is incredibly important that MHP plays a role in improving healthcare services, not just through treatment, but also with a focus on well-being,” said Christensen. “The Blue Zonesョ principles are evidence-based and consistent with what we believe are healthy habits for a long and productive life. This partnership with the Blue Zones Project will help us realize our long-term goals of being a proactive healthcare system when it comes to the well-being of our community.”

Brought to Iowa through an innovative sponsorship by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in collaboration with Healthways and Blue Zones, Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to environment, policy, and social networks.

For more information about how to become a Blue Zones Worksite, contact the Blue Zones Project staff at 641-670-7777 or visit www.bluezonesproject.com.

Oskaloosa is one of 15 Blue Zones Project demonstration sites in Iowa. Oskaloosa and the other demonstration communities are receiving assistance from experts to develop and implement a Blueprint for making permanent environmental, social and policy changes that transition people into healthier behaviors that can lead to longer, happier lives.

The Blue Zones Project is based on Blue Zones principles developed by Dan Buettner and is the centerpiece of the Healthiest State Initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016 as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Indexョ, the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents’ health and well-being. Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better lives by taking a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, social networks and the built environments where people spend their time.

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