Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas Awards $5 Million for Fort Worth Blue Zones

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas has announced a $5 million grant to global healthcare provider Healthways to improve the health and well-being of Fort Worth residents.

Healthways, in partnership with the City of Forth Worth and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, will work to implement the Blue Zones Project, a community-wide effort that is expected to result in lower health care costs, increased productivity, and improved quality of life for area residents. Launched in 2009, Blue Zones is based on National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner's study of communities around the world where people were happiest and lived the longest. The program employs a series of nine evidence-based "common denominators" developed by a team of medical researchers, anthropologists, demographers, and epidemiologists, with the goal of helping the city cut its medical costs, reduce obesity and smoking rates, and boost residents' physical activity. Healthways' Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI) will serve as a measurement tool for the project, providing a comprehensive daily assessment of residents' health and well-being. Later this year, a baseline WBI survey of the region will be conducted to identify the specific challenges residents face so improvements can be measured over the next five years.

To date, Healthways has successfully implemented Blue Zones projects in the "Beach Cities" of Southern California and the entire state of Iowa, with implementation currently under way in Hawaii.

"Healthways commends the leadership of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas for its commitment to enhancing the quality of life of the citizens of Fort Worth, and we look forward to collaborating with them to implement Blue Zones Project," said Healthways president and CEO Ben R. Leedle, Jr. "Sustained transformation depends on having a built environment and social policies that support and reinforce well-being improvement programs. In the Beach Cities and throughout Iowa we have seen first-hand the impact that Blue Zones Project has had on community well-being, and we are excited to move forward in our efforts to share this important work with Fort Worth."