Ames remains in contention to become a Blue Zones community, one of several Iowa cities that will be awarded extra resources and programs to become a model of health and well-being.
Register online or text your support
You can help Ames make its case by registering at the Ames Blue Zones Project website. Click the green "I'm a Citizen . . . Support Ames" button. Your registration indicates your support for the promotion of healthy lifestyles in the Ames community. The short form requires your name, zip code and a password (supplied by you).
Another option is to show support for the project by texting "BZP" to the number "772937." Don't use the texting option, however, if you've already registered for the Blue Zones project.
Anyone 13 or older with a home, work or school address under an Ames zip code can register. Iowa State employees who live outside of Ames can still pledge, based on their work zip codes. Pledges must be completed soon, as final decisions on Blue Zones communities will be made by mid-April. Individual pledge support is key to the selection. Final Blue Zones demonstration communities will be announced May 4.
The goal: No. 1 in health and well-being
The Blue Zones Project, a key component of Gov. Terry Branstad's healthiest state initiative, involves a collaboration between Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Healthways.
Selected Iowa communities will receive advice from a team of international experts on longevity and healthy lifestyles, and on how to make permanent changes in their communities. The communities, in turn, will share experiences and mentor other Iowa cities as they adopt Blue Zones principles.
The Blue Zones project encourages all Iowa communities to become Blue Zones communities over the next five years. Over the short-term, 10 communities will be selected as models for the project. Three or four of these communities will be announced in May. Ames is competing against 10 other Iowa cities and currently is in fourth place, behind Spencer, Cedar Falls, and Mason City. Check the Blue Zones scoreboard for the current standing of the Iowa contenders.
Elaine Hieber and John Shierholz, Ames, are co-chairs of the Ames Blue Zones Project. ISU representatives are Suzanne Hendrich, university professor in food science and human nutrition; Greg Welk, associate professor of kinesiology; Pete Englin, director of the department of residence; and Emily Bisbee, a senior in kinesiology and health.