By Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman
As you may have seen recently on Sharecare, our latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report revealed that the city you live in can play a major role in determining a host of your individual health factors. The report – entitled Active Cities – examined how a city’s built environment – meaning its infrastructural design for things like walking, biking or commuting – impacts citizens’ health and well-being; and that communities with higher “active living” scores tend to have significantly lower rates of chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression.
This connection between an individual’s health and their community is the guiding principle behind another of our newly-acquired health solutions: the Blue Zones Project, based on insights gleaned from the research of National Geographic fellow Dan Buettner. For more than 15 years, Dan has studied the communities around the world where people live the longest— places where residents regularly exceed 100 years of age and the mean lifespan is decades longer, and likely happier and more productive, than the average. Lastweek, I had the pleasure to attend and speak at the Blue Zones Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, where community leaders gathered to discuss how they are actively applying Blue Zones principles to make their citizens’ “Life Radius” – the 20-mile radius in which Blue Zones has determined we spend 90% of our lives – as healthy as it can be. Specifically, they talked about the policy changes they are implementing in their communities to that end: improving public parks, green spaces, and transportation infrastructure, promoting physical activity and discouraging junk food, and nurturing social groups.
Listening to these community leaders, all of whom are incredibly dedicated to helping their constituents achieve better health, got me even more excited about the potential this work holds. With Blue Zones, Sharecare will be able to meet even more people right where they are— in their homes and communities— to ensure good health is not only aspirational, but accessible, to all.