Sometimes the process of getting healthy requires a little assistance. The new local chapter of the global Blue Zones project is attempting to do just that. They promote healthy living in all aspects of life, including diet.
Thirty percent of Oregon adults are now obese, according to “The State of Obesity” report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Oregon is not alone in the battle for healthy choices; half of U.S. states now have obesity rates of more than 30%, including four states in the South with rates of more than 35%, according to the Center for Disease Control’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. The Blue Zones Project wants to reduce this problem.

The Blue Zones Project started out in Japan which was once the worst country in the world for obesity. Japan used principles to turn their country into the healthiest in the world. Japan now has the world’s oldest people. Blue Zones is a project which shares the principles of Japan’s success.
The Blue Zones are countries or locations where participants have been known to live longer, healthier lives due to efforts they make in everyday diets, exercise and social relationships. The local Blue Zones office is located in downtown Roseburg.

Juliete Palenshus, engagement lead for Blue Zones locally, shared with UCC’s student Human Resources class the end of winter term that Blue Zones communities sell healthier food, cook healthier food and increase exercise.

Palenshus also teaches about the importance of healthy relationships for overall health. She spoke about how in Japan women were raised together as young children and lived in the same village. They were able to see one another’s houses and would wave to each other at certain times of the day to make sure each other was ok. If one of the women didn’t open the door, they would all check in on that person.

Sherm’s Thunderbird in Roseburg has been working with the Blue Zones Project. They have put healthy items to choose from under a Blue Zones Project banner above the healthy choice aisles to improve the choices we make on a subconscious level. Blue Zones Project also has a website with great recipes to choose from.

The website has dates when Blue Zones groups called Maois will be walking in the community. Once a week, locals will get together to walk as a community; they also have movie nights where you can cook with the community and watch a movie while you’re eating the prepared food.