Published on February 10, 2012

Ames Named as Finalist for Blue Zones Project

AMES, IA (AMES BLUE ZONES PROJECT RELEASE) – The Ames Blue Zones Project Advisory Board received confirmation today that Ames has been selected as a finalist for a Blue Zones demonstration community. 

Officials from Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Healthways, sponsors of the Blue Zones Project in Iowa, contacted members of the community coalition on Friday to announce Ames as one of 11 finalists.   The Ames community will now advance to participate in a community site visit with Blue Zones Project representatives on February 27.    

“We are honored to have Ames selected as a finalist, and we believe the people of Ames are interested in making the kind of long-lasting environmental changes and positive health decisions that make a difference,” said Elaine Hieber, Advisory Board Co-Chair.

The Blue Zones Project is a collaboration between Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and Healthways to help make Iowa the first in the nation for well-being as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index. As part of Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative, Blue Zones demonstration communities will work to implement environmental and social initiatives identified from global research to increase the lifespan, health, and well-being of residents. Also, these cities would operate as models for other communities to follow.

Citizen support continues to be a key component for a community being selected as an official demonstration site.  A total of 10% of the Ames population has pledged interest to date.  It is important that at least 25% of the community residents pledge support.  To support Ames as a finalist or for more information, residents should pledge citizen support at or text by typing BZP to the number 772937.

In January, the Ames community submitted an application to become a Blue Zones Project demonstration site.  The application considers many aspects of the city including its vision, business environment, collaboration between organizations, and ability to engage volunteers.

After site visits, the Blue Zones Project will name communities to be official demonstration sites.  The Blue Zones Project will continue to select communities in multiple phases over the next five years.