Two Cedar Valley cities are certified as Blue Zones Communities where we strive to make the healthy choice, the easy choice.
From 2012-2014, Cedar Falls and Waterloo Blue Zones staff members were funded by Wellmark to embed changes in the community to promote well-being. Now in the sustainability phase both cities continue encouraging residents to lead healthier, more fulfilling and longer lives. The two cities combined efforts and now have many volunteers and an Advisory Board to spearhead the project Cedar Valley Blue Zones Project.
Cedar Valley Blue Zones Project includes additional sidewalks and bike lanes, increasing physical activity in schools, improving worksite wellbeing initiatives, and encouraging healthier food choices at grocery stores and restaurants.
The idea is backed by Gov. Terry Branstad, who proclaimed in 2012 that Iowans should band together to change their eating, exercise and other habits and become the healthiest state within five years.
Waterloo — A Blue Zones Project Success
With a tremendous focus on the Blue Zones Project’s six sectors that impact community well-being, Waterloo has gone above and beyond to make the healthy choice the easy choice for its citizens. Here are some highlights:
- Smart Growth America recognized the city's Complete Streets policy as one of the Best of 2013
- 7 local grocery stores earned Blue Zones Grocery Store designation.
- Nearly 7,000 citizens signed up for Blue Zones Project as a result of engagement through their worksite.
- Orange Elementary students logged 3,428 miles in their first year of promoting physical activity through classroom movement and recess.
- 800 citizens in Cedar Valley volunteered for more than 3,900 hours in 18 months.
- 12 local establishments took the pledge and are making the healthy choice the easy choice for patrons.
To view a PDF outlining Waterloo's Blue Zones accomplishments, click here.
The Waterloo and Cedar Falls BZP’s have now formed the Cedar Valley Blue Zones Project. Keep up to date on Facebook!
Learn more about the Blue Zones in the Cedar Valley and around the world on the Blue Zones website.