On April 8, 2020, Adventist Health announced that it had acquired Blue Zones®, a pioneer in taking a systemic and environmental approach to improving the health of entire cities and communities. The organization’s work in more than 50 communities across America has been credited with double-digit drops in obesity, smoking, and Body Mass Index (BMI), achieving millions of dollars of savings in healthcare costs.
This revolutionary move by Adventist Health comes at a time when public attention is especially focused on the interconnectedness of our health to that of our friends and neighbors in the face of the coronavirus disease crisis. Post-pandemic, a focus on improving and strengthening community and public health will be more critical than ever as communities across the nation and globe navigate recovery.
“Adventist Health has always believed in creating environments of belonging and easy access to healthy lifestyles, and we also know that the future of healthcare goes beyond the role of traditional hospitals by investing in our communities to improve people’s overall wellbeing,” said Scott Reiner, president and CEO of Adventist Health. “Adventist Health’s work with Blue Zones represents the future of healthcare and is a major component of our plan to redefine the role of health organizations across America and strengthens our commitment to inspiring health, wholeness and hope.”
Blue Zones infuses healthy choices, enhances connections, instills purpose, and fuels hope to impact communities where people live, work, and play. This includes leveraging the Blue Zones Power9® lessons of longevity through a comprehensive model for transformational change called the Life Radius®—a focus on people, places, and policy. Rather than relying solely on individual behavior change, Blue Zones focuses on optimizing environments to improve health by design.
“Blue Zones is proud to pioneer the advancement of the health of entire cities by systematically improving living environments, so the healthy choice is the easy choice,” said Dan Buettner, founder of Blue Zones and fellow, explorer for National Geographic. “Adventist Health shares our values and its vision for community wellbeing aligns perfectly with our work. We believe that Blue Zones can have an even bigger impact as part of a strong and proven health organization.”
At a time when America is spending significantly more on health care than other countries without that investment translating to better health outcomes, this kind of model can improve the health of individuals and communities, and in turn, make care more affordable. This transformational move is especially powerful as our society seeks to rebuild and find solutions to restore the health of the nation once the current coronavirus disease crisis passes.
Adventist Health’s vision to improve individual wellbeing by investing in healthier communities is rooted in the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s cultural heritage. Since its inception in the 1840s, the Adventist tradition has encouraged a lifestyle of health and wellness. These practices are infused into Adventist communities across the country, including Loma Linda, California. The average life expectancy in America is 78 years, but in Loma Linda, the average male lives to 89 and female to 91. Buettner identified Loma Linda as one of the world’s five blue zones longevity hotspots in a National Geographic cover story in 2005.
Reiner added, “In addition to our acquisition news, through Blue Zones, we have also concurrently completed an early renewal to continue collaborating to provide Blue Zones Project by Sharecare.”
Jeff Arnold, founder, chairman and CEO of Sharecare commented, “We are excited to extend our partnership with Blue Zones, and now Adventist Health, to advance and grow our market leading solution for community-driven health."
About Adventist Health
Adventist Health is a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 80 communities on the West Coast and Hawaii. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides care in hospitals, clinics, home care agencies, hospice agencies and joint-venture retirement centers in both rural and urban communities. Our compassionate and talented team of 36,000 includes associates, medical staff physicians, allied health professionals and volunteers driven in pursuit of one mission: living God's love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope. Together, we are transforming the American healthcare experience with an innovative, yet timeless, whole-person focus on physical, mental, spiritual and social healing.
This article originally appeared on the NAD website.
Photo courtesy of the NAD website.
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