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Blue Zones Project — North Hawaii

April 21, 2017 - 12:30am

Lift your membership

Self-reflection, meditation, worship and prayer are just several of the subtly powerful habits that seem to improve longevity. Researchers found that belonging to a faith-based community — no matter the denomination — is one of nine healthy behaviors shared by the world’s longest-lived people.

The longevity-enhancing effect may be a function of how one attends. In a thriving congregation, members are actively involved in supporting one another and serving the wider community. Strengthen the spiritual dimension of your life by taking a more active role in your faith community. Why not lift your membership to greater well-being by engaging members in simple activities that focus on improving physical, social and emotional health?

Blue Zones Project by Healthways is a community-led, well-being improvement initiative that leverages findings from the original Blue Zones — those places where people live longer, with a higher quality of life and lower rates of disease — and other well-being research to create new Blue Zones Communities across the U.S. Faith-based organizations of all denominations are a vital part of Blue Zones Communities. So are city governments, civic groups, schools, worksites, grocery stores and restaurants.

Strengthen your community

Faith-based organizations can join the movement that’s already underway in North Hawaii by taking the Blue Zones Project Faith-Based Organization Pledge to increase the overall health and well-being of members and boost community health.

Faith communities can encourage member involvement and provide an opportunity to welcome newcomers by implementing these simple yet effective best-practices to optimize the environment so that healthy choices are easier:

* Incorporate walking or plant-based potlucks into small meeting groups

* Plant and maintain a community garden

* Incorporate stretching, exercise and/or movement into your gatherings

* Promote volunteer opportunities within your organization or in the community

* Host healthy lunches or potlucks for members to facilitate new relationships

* Host well-being or educational events such as health fairs

* Host family fun nights

* Host fundraisers or gatherings that promote healthy food and beverage

* Create a tobacco-free environment

Put Blue Zones Project to work in your faith community

Spirituality is an important part of one’s overall health. A faith-based organization has the power to further reinforce members’ well-being by actively promoting other healthy lifestyle principles. The positive outcomes will permeate the congregation and the greater community.

Here in North Hawaii, Kohala Seventh-Day Adventist and St. Augustine Episcopal Church have already achieved Blue Zones Project Approved status. Contact Sue Dela Cruz, engagement lead for Blue Zones Project — North Hawaii, at or 824-3591 to learn more about the Blue Zones Project Faith-Based Organization Pledge.

To learn more about Blue Zones Project Hawaii, go to

Blue Zones Project — North Hawaii involves dozens of community volunteers from Waimea, Waikoloa, North Kohala, Kawaihae, Puako and Hamakua who are dedicated to helping us all “Live Longer, Better.” To join, go to to learn more. North Hawaii is one of only eight communities in the state selected as a Blue Zones Project demonstration site. Blue Zones Project by Healthways is brought to Hawaii by HMSA.

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