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AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project

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Vitality Project Initiatives:
– Walking Moai Program: Over 500 participants joined 70 walking moais, collectively walking over 75 million steps.
– Walking School Bus Program: Parents and volunteers walked children to school, promoting walking and building social networks.
– Vitality Compass: Online tool asking about habits, increasing average life expectancy by 3 years.
– Volunteering: Participants encouraged to volunteer in the community.
– Community Initiatives: Employers, grocery stores, neighborhood picnics, community gardens, and purpose workshops were organized.

– Dan Burden, an expert in walkability, audited Albert Lea and suggested improvements.
– Sidewalks connecting portions of a path around Fountain Lake were added.
– Improving Walkability: Efforts were made to make Albert Lea more walkable for residents.
– Community Engagement: Walkability improvements aimed to encourage more walking and physical activity.
– Benefits: Walkability enhancements can lead to healthier lifestyles and increased community connectivity.

– Sustainability Committee: Focuses on maintaining Vitality Project practices for long-term health benefits.
– Vitality Center: Designated space in Albert Lea to educate others on lifestyle changes for health improvement.
– Goal: Establishing a Vitality Center to share knowledge on community health practices.
– Jacobson Apartment Building: Lower level refurbished to accommodate the Vitality Center.
– Expansion: The project aimed to impact other cities, organizations, and individuals for broader health benefits.

Media Coverage and Results:
– Featured in News Outlets: Good Morning America, USA Today, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Minnesota Public Radio.
– Positive Outcomes: 70% increase in walking, 4% decrease in smoking, and combined weight loss of 4 tons.
– Smoking Reduction: Smoking rates decreased further from 23% to 16% during the project.
– Project Impact: Extended to over 70 communities across North America, affecting approximately 4.35 million people.
– Recognition: The project received media attention for its success in promoting healthier lifestyles.

– Archived Sources: AARP,, ABC News, Minneapolis Star Tribune, MPR News.
– Project Reports: Various articles and reports documented the progress and impact of the Vitality Project.
– Blue Zones Project: Expanded to numerous communities, positively influencing millions of individuals.
– Retrieved Information: Resources provided insights into the project’s development and outcomes.
– Information Sharing: The project’s success was shared through various media outlets and reports.

In January 2009, the city of Albert Lea, Minnesota, began the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project. It was sponsored by the United Health Foundation and led by Dan Buettner, the author of The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest.

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