Blue Zones Project™ Demonstration Sites Named

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Blue Zones ProjectDemonstration Sites Named

DES MOINES, Iowa & NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Wellmark Blue Crossand Blue Shield and Healthways (NAS: HWAY) announced today that six additional communities have been named as Blue Zones Project™ demonstration sites in Iowa. The communities are:

     Cedar Rapids     Muscatine
Iowa CityOskaloosa
MarionSioux City
 

These communities join Cedar Falls, Mason City, Spencer and Waterloo, which were named in May 2012, as the first Blue Zones Project™ demonstration site communities in Iowa with populations greater than 10,000 citizens. Nine additional communities with populations less than 10,000 citizens were named demonstration sites in October 2012 for a total of 19 communities currently working formally towards Blue Zones Community™ certification.


"We are thrilled to announce the final six demonstration sites for the Blue Zones Project in Iowa," said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., Healthways President and CEO. "The commitment to improved well-being exhibited by all of the communities participating in the selection process has been inspiring, and we look forward to working with the demonstration sites to transform the lives of their residents through the application of Blue Zones® principles."

The selected communities will receive assistance from experts to develop and implement a Blueprint for making permanent environmental, social and policy changes that transition people into healthier behaviors that can lead to longer, happier lives. Three of the communities (Cedar Rapids, Muscatine and Sioux City) will begin this work immediately, while three (Iowa City, Marion and Oskaloosa) will begin their work in 2014. The progress of all the large demonstration site communities will be measured using the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents' health and well-being.

"Seeing the Blue Zones Project take hold in Iowa is incredibly exciting, and the applications we received from all the communities demonstrate the great work being done across the state to improve well-being," said Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield Chairman and CEO, John Forsyth. "The six selected communities are the next step in creating a tipping point where the entire state experiences improved health and they will be an example for all Iowans."

"Cedar Rapids is thrilled to be named a Blue Zones Project demonstration site, and I want to thank the many dedicated leaders who spearheaded this effort," said Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett. "The resources and expertise we'll receive as a demonstration site will help us take the next step towards a healthier Cedar Rapids. I encourage all residents of Cedar Rapids and the other selected communities to help us by taking the first step towards personal well-being and visiting www.bluezonesproject.com to pledge your support for your community and explore the tools and resources available."

The six communities submitted applications in August in the second and final selection round for large communities. While this was the last opportunity for communities with populations greater than 10,000 to apply, communities across Iowa will continue to implement Blue Zones Project principles within their community. Additionally, all Iowans and all Iowa businesses can access resources and tools online at www.bluezonesproject.com. Additional participation opportunities for communities with populations less than 10,000 will be announced in 2013.

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better lives by taking a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, social networks and the built environments where we spend our time. The Blue Zones Project is based on Blue Zones principles developed by Dan Buettner and is the centerpiece of the Healthiest State Initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016 as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents' health and well-being. Brought to Iowa through an innovative sponsorship by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in collaboration with Healthways, the Blue Zones Project initiative encourages all Iowa communities to change their built environments to make the healthy choice, the easy choice.

Click here for a map of all demonstration site communities.

About Wellmark

Wellmark, Inc. (www.wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Healthways

Healthways (NAS: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant's health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 40 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com.

About Blue Zones

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The Company's work is rooted in the New York Times best-selling books The Blue Zones and Thrive - both published by National Geographic books. In 2009, Blue Zones applied the tenets of the books to Albert Lea, MN, and successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs for city workers by 40%. Blue Zones takes a systematic, environmental approach to well-being which focuses on optimizing policy, building design, social networks, and the built environment. The Blue Zones Project is based on this innovative approach. For more information, visit www.bluezones.com.



Wellmark
Courtney Greene, 515-988-0918
GreeneCM@wellmark.com
or
Healthways
Bruce Middlebrooks, 615-614-4463
bruce.middlebrooks@healthways.com

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Iowa  Tennessee

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:

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