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'Blue Zones' Aims for Healthier, Happier Aging Adults

Hector Alejandro via Wikimedia Commons

People in Naples are living some of the longest lives in the nation, according to a national review of metro areas by 24/7 Wallstreet. Those living in the Naples-Marco Island-Immokalee area live, on average, into their 88th year.

But quality of life is just as important as longevity, which is why Blue Zones of Southwest Florida (operated by NCH Healthcare) is working to improve well-being across the region, to have the area join the world's "Blue Zone" communities.

Blue Zones are recognized as long-living communities in Italy, Japan, California, Coast Rica, Greece, and Sweden. The cities and regions in the "Blue Zone" are characterized by more than just the number of centenarians. Researchers say strong family connections, a level of constant moderate physical activity, and frequent social engagement characterize "Blue Zone" communities. They also point to healthy lifestyles devoid of smoking, with moderate alcohol consumption, and diets rich in plant-based foods.

It's a concept challenged by the idea that Florida's seniors are living longer but not necessarily healthier lives. Despite having a large population of senior citizens, Florida ranks near the middle of the nation when it comes to health among its aging adults.

Thursday at 1 p.m. on Gulf Coast Life, Deb Logan, the executive director of Blue Zones Project of Southwest Florida, talks about what makes the area a candidate for a Blue Zone, and what changes need to happen to make the region more blue.

Also joining the show is Patricia Luppy with FineMark National Bank and Trust in Naples, a Blue Zone-certified workplace.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
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