Beach Cities Residents Report Dramatic Increases in Well-Being, Far
Outpacing Improvement in California and Nation
Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index^® Survey Results Demonstrate Substantial
Improvements in Obesity, Smoking Rates, Exercise Levels and Healthy Eating
Since 2010 Inception of the Blue Zones Project™
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- January 31, 2013
Today Gallup, a leading international polling agency, and Healthways, Inc.
(NASDAQ: HWAY), a global leader in well-being improvement, announced the
latest findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI), which show
substantial improvements in the well-being of residents in the Beach Cities
region of Southern California (Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo
Beach). The considerable uptick in well-being, which far outpaces improvements
measured in California and nationwide, coincides with the efforts of the Blue
Zones Project -- an innovative, community well-being improvement initiative
that launched in the Beach Cities region in December 2010 and is a joint
effort between Healthways, Beach Cities Health District and Blue Zones^®.
The initial baseline WBI survey of Beach Cities residents was conducted in
October 2010, measuring six areas of physical, emotional and social health.
During the fall of 2012, the WBI survey was again administered to a
population-representative sample of more than 1,200 Beach Cities residents.
The latest findings, which have a margin of error of +/- 2.1-3.5 percent,
reveal the following:
*Since 2010, residents of the Beach Cities have seen their well-being climb
three points for an overall composite well-being score of 76.4. Research
demonstrates that each point in well-being improvement equates to a
statistically significant percent decrease in the likelihood of hospital
admission and ER visits and in the likelihood of incurring healthcare
*Obesity: Physical health has improved considerably in the Beach Cities,
with a 14 percent reduction in obesity, or an estimated 1,645 fewer adults
than in 2010 who are obese, which equates to a $2.35 million savings on
healthcare-related costs for Beach Cities businesses, insurers and
*Smoking: Smoking rates among Beach Cities residents dropped by 3,484 or
more than 30 percent, as just 7 percent of Beach Cities residents
indicated they smoke, compared to 10.6 percent in 2010 (and compared to 16
percent statewide and 21 percent nationally). This improvement equates to
a $6.97 million savings in healthcare-related costs since 2010^3;
*Exercise: The number of residents who reported engaging in exercise at
least 30 minutes, three times per week, climbed by more than 10 percent
since 2010; and
*Healthy eating: Nearly 10 percent more residents report healthier eating
habits than in 2010, eating five or more servings of fruits and
vegetables, on four or more days in the past week.
“The positive well-being trend in the Beach Cities is both authentic and
impressive. The rate at which the community has improved since 2010 far
surpasses what has been measured in the large majority of other communities
nationwide,” said Dan Witters, Principal at Gallup. “Given the timing of this
progress, we believe the Blue Zones Project has been a strong driver of the
Beach Cities success.”
The Blue Zones Project, which began under the name Vitality City, measures
whether a community could meaningfully improve its overall well-being, as
measured by the WBI, by implementing dozens of environmental, policy and
social changes that work together to make the healthy choice the easy choice.
The project was born out of National Geographic explorer Dan Buettner’s
examination of the longest-living and healthiest peoples on the planet.
Buettner discovered nine health and longevity lessons that these
well-being-rich communities, called “Blue Zones,” share and sought to apply
them to populations within the United States. The nine lessons, called the
“Power 9,” delivered in conjunction with Healthways solutions and tools that
are proven to improve well-being and reduce health-related costs, guide the
Blue Zones Project approach to positively shifting community well-being.
“In Blue Zones, people don’t try to live to 100, it happens to them,” says
Buettner. “The key to success in America is to understand the environmental
factors that have made people healthy around the world and reconstruct them in
a culturally appropriate way.”
“The Well-Being Index findings confirm that we can measurably improve the
health and quality of life in a community by taking a holistic approach to
addressing not just physical health, but the social and emotional factors that
are pivotal to greater well-being,” said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., Healthways
President and Chief Executive Officer. “The success we are experiencing in the
Beach Cities provides important lessons as we replicate this innovative model
for the state of Iowa and elsewhere.”
Since the beginning of the initiative, the Blue Zones Project has worked with
civic leaders, schools, cities, employers, restaurants, grocery stores and
individuals to create a healthier, more productive and engaged community.
During the first two years of the Blue Zones Project:
*The Beach Cities have adopted bicycle master plans, livability policies
and smoking restrictions
*15,000 Beach Cities residents have participated in one or more Blue Zones
*60 local restaurants have achieved or are pursuing Blue Zones Restaurant™
designation by making modest changes to promote a healthier experience for
patrons (such as creating healthier menu options)
*16 local employers have achieved or are pursuing Blue Zones Worksite™
designation by committing to implement simple changes that increase
employee well-being and create healthier work environments
*All three school districts have launched “Walking School Bus” programs
that encourage increased physical activity and social connection via
chaperoned walks to school
“We fought hard to bring the Blue Zones Project to the Beach Cities because we
believed this preventative, community-based model would advance our ability to
appreciably improve the lives of the residents we serve,” said Susan Burden,
CEO of Beach Cities Health District. “Having worked in health care management
for more than 25 years, it is not often you have the opportunity to address
health issues before it is too late, but the Blue Zones Project is making that
possible. We are thrilled to see our community transforming in such a
sustainable way and look forward to working with our residents to continue the
For more information about the Blue Zones Project or to take a pledge of
action, please visit www.BlueZonesProject.com.
About Blue Zones Project™
The Blue Zones Project™, formerly known as Healthways | Blue Zones Vitality
City™ initiative, is a community-wide well-being improvement initiative in the
Beach Cities region of Los Angeles, to create healthier, happier and more
productive citizens. It uses permanent, evidence-based environmental and
policy changes to motivate residents to adopt and maintain healthier
lifestyles. Using the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index™ to benchmark the
well-being of the beach cities and measure progress, Blue Zones Project aims
to create a beach cities community that is healthier and more walkable,
bikeable, and socially engaged—where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
The three-year initiative is a joint effort between Healthways, one of the
world’s leading well-being improvement companies, Blue Zones, founded by New
York Times best-selling author and national longevity expert Dan Buettner, and
the lead local partner, Beach Cities Health District, a public agency
dedicated to enhancing individual and community health through preventive
health programs in the cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo
About Healthways, Inc.
Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of
well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one
person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce
and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include
employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans,
communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and
personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize
each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs.
Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of
everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary
technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years
and now serves approximately 40 million people on four continents. Learn more
at www.healthways.com or www.silversneakers.com.
About Blue Zones^®
Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. Its
work is rooted in The New York Times best-selling books The Blue Zones and
Thrive, published by National Geographic books. In 2009, Blue Zones applied
the tenets of the books to Albert Lea, Minn., raising life expectancy and
lowering healthcare costs for city workers by 40 percent. Blue Zones takes a
systematic, environmental approach to wellbeing, which focuses on optimizing
policy, building design, social networks, and the built environment. For more
information, visit www.bluezones.com.
Gallup has studied human nature and behavior for more than 70 years. Its
reputation for delivering relevant, timely and visionary research on what
people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization.
Gallup employs many of the world’s leading scientists in management,
economics, psychology and sociology, and its consultants assist leaders in
identifying and monitoring behavioral economic indicators worldwide. Gallup
consultants help organizations, cities, and countries solve the world’s
foremost problems with advanced research and analysis.
About the Gallup-Healthways Partnership
In a historic partnership for American health transformation, Gallup and
Healthways have developed a new national measure of well-being that provides
leaders with the information they need to create solutions for making
Gallup and Healthways initiated a 25-year partnership on January 2, 2008,
merging decades of clinical research and development expertise, health
leadership, and behavioral economics research to track and understand the key
factors that drive well-being.
The Gallup-Healthways collaboration draws on a team of individuals with
diverse backgrounds and high-level achievements including authors of
best-selling books on employee engagement and organizational psychology; a
Nobel Prize winner in economic sciences whose research pioneered behavioral
economics; leaders specializing in health support interventions; and the
inventor of an economic model that establishes a direct correlation between
human nature in the workplace, employee engagement and business outcomes.
About Beach Cities Health District
Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) is the largest preventive health agency in
the nation, serving the communities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and
Redondo Beach since 1955. As a public agency, it offers an extensive range of
dynamic health and wellness programs, with innovative services and facilities
to promote health and prevent diseases in every lifespan. BCHD operates
AdventurePlex, a health and fitness center where kids play their way to good
health, and the Center for Health & Fitness, a comprehensive medically based
fitness center. Visit www.bchd.org or call (310) 374-3426 for more
^1 “Evaluation of the Relationship Between Individual Well-Being and Future
Health Care Utilization and Cost” Population Health Management, Volume 15,
Number 00 2012. Patricia L. Harrison, MPH, James E. Pope, MD, Carter R.
Coberley, PhD, and Elizabeth Y. Rula, PhD.
^2 Finklestein, E.A., Trogdon, J.G., Cohen, J.W., and Dietz, W. (July 2009).
“Annual Medical Spending Attributable to Obesity: Payer- and Service-Specific
Estimates.” Health Affairs 28(5) w822-w831.
^3 Solberg LI, Maciosek MV, Edwards NM, Khanchandani HS, Goodman MJ. Repeated
tobacco‐use screening and intervention in clinical practice: health impact and
cost effectiveness. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2006;31(1):62‐71.
Bruce Middlebrooks, 615-614-4463
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