If you’ve ever been to Santa Barbara, you’ve likely seen runners, walkers, cyclists, surfers, beach volleyball, and even State Street shoppers.
They are constantly on the move, burning calories, shrinking their waistline and enjoying every second of it.
In this coastal environment of great weather, fresh air, beautiful scenery, and beautiful people, it’s simply easier to stay fit and healthy than it is in Bakersfield, where you can walk or bike to work in summer temperatures of 105 degrees while sucking in unhealthy air like Hoover’s. , most likely not the path to inner peace and physical well-being.
So, how can Bakersfield find his own way to Santa Barbara-like Nirvana, while staying here in the South Valley?
Enter the Blue Zones project.
“Today, we embark on another journey, a planning journey, which will eventually take us…to a new path, a new path toward well-being for all Kern County,” Kiyoshi Tomono, executive director of the Blue Zones Project, said Thursday from City Council Stairs in downtown Bakersfield. .
“This is really a community effort,” Tomono said at a meeting of business leaders, city officials and news reporters. “We are pleased to say that Bakersfield is the newest Blue Zone community.”
Tomono said the Blue Zones Project is based on research by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic fellow and New York Times bestselling author, who, during his extensive travels, identified the five cultures in the world with the highest concentration of people living to 100. years or older. He called these places on the map the “blue zones”.
The project integrates Buettner’s findings in working with communities to make healthy choices easier through lasting changes in the community’s environment or infrastructure, government policies, and social networks.
“What is this secret sauce that allows people to live well over 100—and not just live, but be healthy, live well and thrive?” asked Tomono.
And the second part of that question was, ‘Can we recreate the same environment – or whatever that secret sauce is – in other places? “The answer is yes, he said.
Tomono cited Buettner’s brother, Dan Buettner, who was at Thursday’s event.
“People who live to more than 100 people, not because they are Follow up luxury, because it followed byTomono said.
“We don’t force turnips on people.”
And it’s not about individuals who focus on the latest diet or fitness program. The vision is to focus on the entire community: the home, schools, work environments, recreational spaces and more.
The question is, can healthy eating be made easier—until it eventually becomes the natural, the natural, the only option.
According to data already collected, participating communities experienced a two-way reduction in obesity and smoking rates, economic investment in downtown corridors, grant funding, and measurable savings in healthcare costs.
Tomono said this community-led initiative will bring together job sites, schools, grocery stores, restaurants, religious and civic organizations as well as residents to implement the initiative.
“It’s all based on the evidence,” he said.
Sean M. Kerns, executive vice president and chief operating officer of California Resources Corp., said the local oil and gas company is donating $1 million to support the launch of the Bakersfield Blue Zone project.
“The Blue Zones approach to raising the population-level welfare of all members of our community closely aligns with CRC values,” Kearns told Thursday’s rally.
The city of Bakersfield seems willing to help, too.
“Some people call it a project. I used to call it a movement. I think it’s also just a way of life,” Bakersfield City Manager Christian Clegg said of the project and the knowledge behind it.
Changes will not come overnight. It’s a long-term commitment that may include new docks, itineraries, and options for healthy travel. That could mean finding a way to get healthy food in grocery stores and grocery stores in neighborhoods that don’t have healthy food.
“I will point out that the responsibility for health does not lie solely with the individual,” Clegg said.
It is also the responsibility of the community and leaders within the community to make sure that healthy choices are available to all.
“As you pointed out, my family and I love it here in Bakersfield,” he said. “…we also acknowledge that we have some work to do in addressing some real, concrete challenges around collective well-being.”
He talked about disadvantaged areas of Bakersfield, and also touched on public safety.
“We don’t think of public safety as the absence of crime,” Clegg said. “Public safety is the presence of well-being.”
Promoting well-being is the focus of the Blue Zones movement.
Tomono said the goal is to research three main components of society: people, politics, and places.
“Things like tobacco policy,” he said. “About how easy it is for kids to get cigarettes.
“How much sugar do children get in their school meals?”
By making small changes in policy or environments, he said, we can begin to positively impact the health of society in the long term.
“Nearly 45 percent of our fifth graders are obese,” Tomono said. “We have a much higher rate of diabetes than the state average.”
He said that people in this society die earlier, on average, than people around the world.
Tomono said getting certified as a Blue Zones community would be a five-year journey.
It is believed that the rewards are worth a visit.
Reporter Stephen Meyer can be contacted at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @semayerTBC.
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