Marion Goes Blue, Kicks Off Blue Zone Project

By Heather Hubbs, Reporter

MARION, Iowa -- The city of Marion is going blue Tuesday to help make Iowa meet its goal of becoming the healthiest state in the nation by 2016.

Iowa has already made significant strides, jumping from the 16th to the ninth healthiest state in 2012, according to the Gallup Well-Being Index. Now, Marion is joining in the effort by becoming a Blue Zone Community

Marion is already doing quite well -- according to that same poll, Marion's well-being ranks above the state and national average. Now that they are becoming a Blue Zone community focused on becoming even more healthy, those numbers are likely only going to rise.

Gaining a Blue Zone designation requires buy-in from the entire community. Blue Zone leaders are recruiting grocery stores, employers, schools, and restaurants to work with them to on this initiative. The goal of Blue Zone is to help people live longer by living healthier.

"Marion really saw the value in getting a more healthy and well being environment for people who live there because it's more attractive to young people to want to stay in a community that's vital," said Michelle Sillman of the Marion Blue Zone Project. "It's also more attractive to employers who want to come into the area because healthy people cost less."

Blue Zone focuses on improving a person's entire well being.
This includes being active and eating right, but also a person's emotional health. Leaders encourage people to spend more time with family and friends, get involved in the community, and find their purpose in life.

Marion's Blue Zone Kick-off is Tuesday from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Linn-Mar High School Gym. There will be kids activities, cooking demonstrations, and a pep band. Blue Zone Founder and CEO Dan Buettner will be the event's guest speaker.
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