Minneapolis, Aug 17 th 2013
Do you want to live 100 years or so, healthy, fit and happy? Then you have to live in Sicily, or in Okinawa, or … in Iowa! Let me explain.
Since long ago researchers have been trying to find out the recipe for a long life, and recently they isolated a few small communities scattered around the world, in Italy, Japan, Greece…. where a majority of people reached the century still in good shape physically and mentally. The researchers analyzed what these people had in common and guess what?: they observed eternal wisdoms: no stress, good sleep, no smoking, healthy food, social bondings, daily physical activities, family ties. A no brainer.
Now, where it gets tricky, is how to create a true culture that integrates each and all of these items, at the scale of a wide population, so as to obtain that a majority of the people significantly increase their life expectancy?
This is what Iowa is trying to do, and it is called the Blue Zone project,which aims at changing the sheer culture of a whole population. Changing the culture means that people integrate effortlessly certain behaviors and follow them voluntarily without even thinking : eating healthy food in small quantities, moving, bonding etc…to know more visit the Blue Zone Project web site. You will discover that already more than 150 000 people and 1500 companies have signed up.
It is a huge project, and it will take time, but it’s promoters want to go fast: 2016 is the target date for Iowa to obtain the Blue zone label, in other words be the first State to receive the best quality of life label in the entire United States.
. Increasing significantly the health level of the population and its longevity will obviously take generations, but results are expected very quickly, in particular in health spendings.
The return expected is obvious: quality of life for individuals, less health care spendings for businesses and insurance companies, a better ranking for Iowa.
Needless to say that riding a bicycle is part of a “blue zone” lifestyle. Does it mean that we addict riders will live longer and healthier? Not sure…Think about the 10 creamy ice creams a day we lick during the rides? and the 10 beers we gulp down after the ride to quench our thirst? And the huge pizza and french fries we swallow at dinner? To say nothing of our level of stress in the middle of heavy truck traffic! No, definitely, riding a bike should not be part of the Blue Zone culture. I would even push a motion to forbid biking in Iowa. Anyone to second it? -:)