On Friday, October 16, and Saturday, October 17, Ko‘olaupoko (Windward Oahu), East Hawaii, and North Hawaii celebrated the launch of Blue Zones Project in Hawaii at their community kickoffs. These three communities are the first regions in the state selected for Blue Zones Project, a powerful movement that helps communities lower obesity rates, smoking, and chronic disease.
Blue Zones Project founder Dan Buettner spoke at all three kickoff events, with thousands of community members in attendance. Event attendees were treated to live entertainment, cooking demos, massages, keiki activities, and more. They also pledged to implement principles that can lead to longer, better lives and happier, healthier communities.
Community leaders like Cynthia Okazaki, a member of the Ko‘olaupoko Blue Zones Project leadership and engagement committees, believe that the healthy choice should be the easy choice. “Developing healthy practices, being able to exercise, knowing what foods are good for you – if families aren’t struggling to do these things, they won’t have to think or spend extra time to live healthy,” said Cynthia, who is also a site coordinator for Parents and Children Together.
These leaders walk the talk, too. After reading Buettner’s best-selling book, The Blue Zones Solution, Jennifer Dang, a member of the the Ko‘olaupoko Blue Zones Project leadership and education committees, started making small but meaningful life changes. “Now I drink a half cup of red wine a day – a good antioxidant, walk to the grocery store more often, and cook more meals that are plant-based,” said Jennifer, who is also the Hawaii Child Nutrition Programs coordinator for the Department of Education.
And this is just the beginning. You can expect great things from all three communities as more restaurants, businesses, faith-based organizations, and grocery stores begin to partner together to make Hawaii a better place to live, work, and play.