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Blue Zones: What Can We Learn from the Longest Living People on Earth?

By Linda Culotta

Blue ZonesIn 2005, National Geographic author Dan Buettner coined the concept of Blue Zones, which are isolated geographical pockets of the most long-lived people on Earth. Buettner traveled the globe, seeking answers as to why and how these segments of humanity managed to live longer than anywhere else, and what lessons the rest of the world might be able to learn from them.

Buettner’s Blue Zones identified these mostly remote populations in areas of Japan, Italy, Greece, Costa Rica, and among the Seventh Day Adventists of Loma Linda, California. Based on lifestyle characteristics common to all Blue Zone populations, Buettner created his Power9® Principals for healthy living.(1)

Power9® Principals
1. Move naturally – No health club needed, just walk, swim or cycle daily
2. Purpose – A well-defined life purpose can add up to seven years to your life(2)
3. Downshift – Reduce stress through meditation, yoga or reading
4. Family first – Prioritizing family relationships can add up to six years to your life(3)
5. Right tribe – Surround yourself with people who support you and positive behaviors
6. Belong – Being a part of a faith-based community can add up to 14 years to your life(4)
7. Wine at five – If you have a healthy relationship with alcohol, enjoy a glass of wine with good friends each day
8. Plant slant – Put more fruits and vegetables on your plate
9. 80% rule – Eat mindfully and stop when you’re 80% full

Now, Blue Zones Projects are popping up all over the country, including here in southwest Florida. In 2015, Dr. Allen Weiss, president, and CEO of NCH

Hospital in Naples initiated an 8-year Blue Zone Project® for southwest Florida. In its first three years, NCH has seen significant health care cost savings of over $27 million since implementing wellness initiatives, including the BZP’s Power9® Principles wellness protocols for their employees. These small lifestyle changes add up to profound benefits for all, including lower health care costs, improved productivity and ultimately a higher quality of life.

The Blue Zones Project® has also found an advocate, Linda Culotta, in Lake Michigan Credit Union of Florida. They state, “As this year’s Wellness Champion of LMCU-Florida, I’m actively working toward the goal of making LMCU-Florida a Certified Blue Zones Project® Workplace by formally embracing Buettner’s Power Nine Principals for employees and members. LMCU is working toward becoming a BZP ApprovedTM Worksite.

By endorsing community-wide wellness initiatives like the Blue Zone Project®, we hope to take a leadership role in promoting healthy choices throughout southwest Florida.”

About the author:
Linda Culotta is a mortgage loan originator with Lake Michigan Credit Union of Florida’s Collier branch, and is committed to improving the financial wellbeing of her clients. For more information about LMCU-Florida’s involvement with the Blue Zones Project®, or for questions concerning mortgage financing and lending products, contact Linda at (239) 908-5860. Or send her an email –

(1) Dan Buettner,, Power9® -Bluezones, Reverse Engineering Longevity
(2), Power9® -Bluezones, Reverse Engineering Longevity
(3), Power9® -Bluezones, Reverse Engineering Longevity
(4), Power9® -Bluezones, Reverse Engineering Longevity

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