Connecting Community Through Healthier Living and Longevity: An Interview with Todd LaPorte and Sarah Kearney on Health Futures Podcast
On a recent episode of the popular podcast Health Futures, Taking Stock in You, host Bob Roth welcomed Todd LaPorte, CEO of HonorHealth, and Sarah Kearney, Executive Director of Blue Zones Scottsdale, to discuss how the City of Scottsdale has officially been activated as a Blue Zone.
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Promoting Wellness Through Environmental and Lifestyle Changes
The Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being improvement initiative to help make healthy choices easier for everyone. The idea originated from explorer Dan Buettner’s research on the communities worldwide with the highest concentrations of centenarians, where people live measurably longer lives.
After years of planning and engagement, the city has now officially launched the Blue Zones Project to promote wellness through environmental and lifestyle changes. Kearney explained that their mission is to optimize how people live, work, eat, play, and pray in the community. Key partners include HonorHealth, Cigna, the City of Scottsdale, and Goodwill of Central and Northern Arizona.
Engaging the Community in Living Longer, Better Lives
As the leader of the region’s largest nonprofit health system, LaPorte discussed why HonorHealth has been an anchor partner in bringing the Blue Zones Project to Scottsdale. He explained that it aligns perfectly with their mission of improving well-being through more proactive community health initiatives.
Kearney emphasized the importance of community-led action in activating real, lasting change. Over 4,000 residents attended their kickoff event, taking personal pledges to embrace the Blue Zones principles and start incorporating small, daily practices that enable people to live longer, healthier, happier lives.
Creating Environments to Make Healthy Choices Easy
Some key focus areas will be transforming schools, workplaces, restaurants, grocery stores, and faith-based organizations to make the healthy choice the easy choice. This includes serving healthier food options, creating opportunities for movement and connection, and designing spaces to encourage healthy behaviors.
According to Kearney, research shows that if 15% of the population embraces these principles, it creates a tipping point that leads to community transformation. The goal is for over 32,000 Scottsdale residents to take the personal pledge over the next four years.
The Power of Grassroots Action
Roth emphasized the power of engaging people at all stages of life to build momentum, especially starting with youth in schools. Kearney agreed this intergenerational approach is critical, noting that the challenges faced by youth and older adults when it comes to isolation and loneliness are remarkably similar, so bringing them together creates meaningful impact for both groups.
The Blue Zones Project demonstrates the potential of grassroots, community-driven efforts to change mindsets and environments in ways that have ripple effects on every aspect of people’s lives. Its unique, holistic approach targeting all of the spaces and places where people spend their time provides a promising roadmap for living better, longer.