ARIZONA NEWS

Blue Zones initiative aims to help south Phoenix residents live longer, healthier lives

Mar 23, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: 6:38 am
(Facebook photo/The Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Center of Phoenix South Mountain)...

PHOENIX– A new initiative is launching to help improve the health and well-being of residents in south Phoenix, which has some of the lowest life expectancies in the Valley.

It’s called Blue Zones Activate. The initiative focuses on creating an environment where it’s easy for residents to make healthy choices, and therefore, live longer.

“To accomplish that, you have to work on policy issues that influence people’s health,” said Tomás León, president of the Equality Health Foundation. “You have to work on the built environment — places where people live, they work, they pray.”

His group along with UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona and Valley of the Sun United Way are collaborating on the effort.

It’s modeled after research by Dan Buettner, who’s a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times bestselling author. He has studied communities across the world, also known as blue zones, with some of the healthiest, longest-living populations.

A frequently cited study shows a difference of as many as 14 years in life expectancy depending on where someone lives in the Phoenix metro area.

The 85258 zip code in Scottsdale has the highest life expectancy, at 85 years. Just a short drive away in South Phoenix’s 85004 zip code, people are looking at a life expectancy of 71 years.

Leon said health disparities have existed in South Phoenix for a long time, resulting in residents living shorter lives.

“The pandemic just made it worse and exacerbated that,” he said.

His group is among those that have been actively trying to get people tested for COVID-19 and vaccinated in South Phoenix during the pandemic. León said with cases and hospitalizations dropping, the focus is now shifting to “recovery and healing in these communities that were hit hardest by the pandemic.”

That’s where Blue Zones Activate comes in. It will be implemented in three phases. The first phase involves hearing from residents and community leaders.

“We want to know what are your pride stories in your community?” he said. “What are the assets? What are the challenges? What are the opportunities for improvement?”

One of the first listening sessions is scheduled for March 28 at The Salvation Army Kroc Center in Phoenix. The event is also meant to be the official launch of the Blue Zones Activate initiative.

The second phase will focus on identifying policies, interventions, strategies and programs that will be implemented during the third phase.

“This is not a one-year project,” León said. “This is a long-term, sustainable initiative. It’s a transformation initiative. It’ll take 5 or more years to begin making permanent changes that lead to helping people in the community make the healthy choice the easiest choice.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Phoenix police seek information on death of man found shot on bridge near I-10

Police are investigating the death of a man who was found shot to death on a bridge that goes over the I-10 freeway in Phoenix. 
23 hours ago
FILE - Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers, R-Flagstaff (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)...
Associated Press

Probe of Arizona senator’s comments on Buffalo shooting concludes

The attorney for the Arizona Senate's ethics committee submitted a report Friday on his investigation of a Republican lawmaker's online comments that appeared to blame the federal government for a supermarket massacre in Buffalo, New York.
23 hours ago
(Photo by/KTAR News' Taylor Kinnerup)...
KTAR.com

About 100 people tried to get into Arizona Senate, tear gas used at protest after abortion ruling

Upwards of 100 people tried to get into the Arizona Senate building and tear gas had to be used at a protest in downtown Phoenix Friday night following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortions, authorities said.
23 hours ago
(AP Photo/Bob Christie, File)...
KTAR.com

Arizona state Sen. Nancy Barto provides updates to state abortion law

Arizona state Sen. Nancy Barto provided clarity on Arizona abortion law following the US Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
23 hours ago
(Pixabay photo)...
KTAR.com

1 child dead, brother in critical condition in Glendale drowning incident

One child is dead and another is in critical condition after a drowning incident in Glendale on Friday night.
23 hours ago
(Facebook photo/City of Mesa Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Mesa police shooting results in non-life threatening injuries to suspect

Two Mesa police officers were involved in a shooting Friday night at 8100 E University but did not suffer any injuries, according to authorities.
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

ADHS mobile program brings COVID-19 vaccines and boosters to Arizonans

The Arizona Department of Health Services and partner agencies are providing even more widespread availability by making COVID-19 vaccines available in neighborhoods through trusted community partners.
...
Canvas Annuity

The secret to guaranteed retirement income

Annuities aren’t really a secret, but they are so misunderstood that they might as well be. Once you understand what an annuity is and how it can benefit you, you could decide this “secret” is the perfect supplement to your retirement plan.
Blue Zones initiative aims to help south Phoenix residents live longer, healthier lives