Blue Zones History

In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people live measurably longer better. In these “Blue Zones” they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States.

After identifying 5 of the world’s Blue Zones, Dan and National Geographic took teams of scientists to each location to identify lifestyle characteristics that might explain longevity. They found that the lifestyles of all Blue Zones residents shared nine specific characteristics. We call these characteristics the Power 9®.

Dan’s subsequent book The Blue Zones hit the New York Times best-seller list and took Dan everywhere from Oprah to TED to Bill Clinton’s Health Matters Initiative. The success prompted a new challenge: could we improve health and longevity in the US?

In 2009 we partnered with AARP and the United Health Foundation to apply the Power 9 principles to Albert Lea, MN (learn more about our approach). It worked: after just one year, participants added an estimated 2.9 years to their average lifespan while healthcare claims for city worker dropped 49%. Harvard’s Walter Willett called the results ‘stunning’ (learn more about the Blue Zones Projects®).

We are now building healthier cities and businesses across the country. Our mission – to help people live longer, better lives – is spreading. Learn how you can get involved.

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March 20, 2014