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Local Blue Zones efforts recognized at state summit

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DES MOINES | Cedar Falls and Waterloo were two of more than 20 Blue Zones Project demonstration communities from across the country that attended the first-ever Blue Zones Project Summit in Des Moines​.

Governor Terry Branstad complimented the work that Iowa communities have accomplished toward the goal of becoming the healthiest state in the nation. He also recognized Cedar Falls and Waterloo for becoming a certified Blue Zones Community.

A few of Cedar Falls achievements include:

  • Schools integrated "brain breaks" to allow kids to get moving.
  • A new pedestrian bridge was constructed to connect residential areas with retail, school and work areas.
  • Twenty local companies became Blue Zones Worksites.

A few of Waterloo’s achievements include:

  • More than 450 citizens have joined more than 65 "walking Moais" walking groups throughout the community.
  • Seven local grocery stores earned Blue Zones Grocery Store designation.
  • Nearly 7,000 citizens signed up for Blue Zones Project as a result of engagement through their work site.

“It was exciting to come to the summit representing a community that has gone through certification and to see new communities coming on board,” said Jackie Preston, co-chair of the Cedar Valley Blue Zones Project advisory team. “Achieving certification is great but it’s really important to look at sustainability and this has allowed us to get new ideas, and we will be able to incorporate a lot of information from this event.”

Cedar Falls Mayor Jon Crews added, “We are excited to continue the healthy progress we’ve made in Cedar Falls and Waterloo.”

Blue Zones Project is a community well-being improvement initiative developed by Healthways, Inc.​ and Blue Zones founder Dan Buettner to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to environment, policy, and social networks.

Attendees also heard from Buettner and other speakers.

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