ASK SHELLEY: Blue Zone Study Group Forming

ask shelley

By Shelley Swenson Extension Agent III
UF-IFAS Wakulla County Extension

Before I begin with my chosen topic, I am sorry to report on the informationseeking meetings that I had scheduled with WastePro to discuss some of the gray areas and questions that have arisen concerning recy-cling in the county.

So far, none of my phone calls have been returned. I plan to start my informational quest again soon and will up-date you when I have obtained the information that I want to share.

Due to the response to The Blue Zone Book Study that I held last month, I will repeat the series and want to en-courage your participa-tion. The study is basedon Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones Solutions and would I invite Wakulla County citizens to attend.

I had several Leon County citizens in my last class and they seemed to find the discussion valuable enough to continue.

I was exposed to this book and resulting discussion as I traveled the Midwest during my recent study leave. I was impressed with the programs being offered on the book’s concepts through other state’s Extension programming.

I knew upon my return that a book study needed to happen in Wakulla County.

The healthy lifestyle choices that Extension encourages are very similar to the Blue Zone’s.

Their research is fascinating and very convincing.

When one United States location in pursuit of becoming a Blue Zone is Iowa, I knew that we must pursue some of the concepts in Wakulla County. Iowans live on corn and pork; we em-brace a diet rich in seafood. Our local changes would be much less extensive than the typical Iowan.

As one person wrote after reading the book, “What if I said you could add up to 10 years to your life? A long healthy life is not an accident. It begins with good genes, but it also depends on good habits. If you adopt the right lifestyle, experts say, chances are you may live up to a decade longer. So what’s the formula for success? In recent years researchers have fanned out across the globe to find the secrets to long life. Funded in part by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, scientists have focused on several regions where people live significantly longer. Residents of these places produce a high rate of centenarians, suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people in other parts of the developed world, and enjoy more healthy years of life. In sum, they offer sets of best practices to emulate. The rest is up to you.”

Eighteen people were exposed to the messages in the past book study and a core group has formed a task force to further the message to Wakulla County citizens, influence the decision making process of those in elected offices and provide “ground up” intiatives to make living in Wakulla healthier.

One goal is to make healthy eating easy eating.

Join the discussion on Tuesdays in August at the Wakulla County Extension Office, 84 Cedar Avenue.

Two sessions will be held each day, one beginning at 2 p.m. and repeated at 6:30 p.m.

The sessions are based on the chapters in the book Discovering the Blue Zones: Greece, Japan, Italy, California, and Costa Rica, Making an American Blue Zone, Building Your Own Blue Zone and Blue Zone Recipes.

Many people found it impossible to commit this much time. Several attended when they could or switched between the day and evening class to reflect their ever changing schedules.

Some will make up the classes they missed during this series. A few people admitted to coming for the discussion without reading the assignments and still ex-pressed satisfaction with their experience.

There are several books on the pursuit of the Blue Zones written by the same author. The one that will be used for this series is The Blue Zones Solutions by Dan Buettner.

A few copies of the book are available from the library or invest in your own copy and have the ability to highlight and write in the book.

Want to know more or to join this series?

Contact Shelley Swenson, FCS Agent, Wakulla County at sswenson@ufl.edu or by calling 926-3931.

 

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