Blue Zone Project hopes to make Yakima the healthiest county - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Blue Zone Project hopes to make Yakima the healthiest county

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YAKIMA, WA - The Yakima Health and Well-Being Coalition - a committee of the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce - has been on a mission for more than two years to make Yakima the "healthiest county in the nation."

Their next step is to make Yakima what's known as a "Blue Zone."

Blue Zones are placed around the world where there's an unusually high number of people that live over 100 years in good health, and scientists say people who do share nine common characteristics including healthy eating (predominantly plant-based diets), de-stressing and having purpose, and a sense of belonging in life.

But data shows that Yakima is 38 of 39 for poorest health factors, and the Yakima Health and Well-Being Coalition wants to change that.

"They don't just come in and change one thing," said Dr. Yami Cazorla-Lancaster, Co-Chair on the Yakima Health and Well-Being Coalition. "We change the environment in multiple different ways so that we can make the healthy choice the easy choice."

The Blue Zones Project team is in Yakima until May 2 to assess what changes could be made in Yakima to help people lead healthier lives and live longer.

In a statement, the Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce says, "The visit will include a presentation from Blue Zones that we encourage anyone to attend, sector-specific focus groups, and a Wine at 5 social event. The goal of the visit is for the Blue Zones Project team to get to know our community and assess our ability to become a Blue Zones Project community and for our leadership to determine if the program is right for us."

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