Creating Community Blue Zones Well-Being Initiatives to Combat Chronic Disease and Comorbidities

Adopted at the 89th Annual Meeting in 2021

  • WHEREAS, individuals in good health form the first line of defense against infectious disease, including a good chance of mild symptoms and recovery from COVID-19, while those with chronic conditions - such as diabetes, heart disease, and compromised immune systems - are at high risk for severe illness and death; and

    WHEREAS, communities traditionally rely on a reactive approach to health focused on causes, consequences and diagnosis, while communities with pro-active well-being initiatives focus on prevention, healthy lifestyle and pursuit of optimal well-being; and

    WHEREAS, according to the American Heart Association, prior to COVID-19 more than 800,000 Americans died of heart disease, stroke or other cardiovascular disease every year, costing our health care system $214 billion per year and costing $138 billion in lost productivity; and

    WHEREAS, according to the American Diabetes Association more than 35 million Americans have diabetes and 88 million adults have prediabetes - which can cause serious complications including heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness; and

    WHEREAS, the American Diabetes Association in 2017 estimated the medical cost and lost productivity due to diabetes and prediabetes at $327 billion; and

    WHEREAS, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) obesity affects 19% of children and 42% of U.S. adults putting people at risk for chronic disease, heart disease, and some cancers. Over a quarter of all Americans 17 to 24 are too heavy to join the military. Obesity costs the US health care system $147 billion a year; and

    WHEREAS, according to a CDC 2019 report 90% percent of the nation's $3.5 trillion in annual health care expenditures were for people with chronic and mental health conditions; and

    WHEREAS, mental health awareness, a stressed-out workforce, lifestyle-related diseases, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the coming "silver tsunami" of an active and vibrant older population are all driving demand and innovation for well-being solutions; and

    WHEREAS, research indicates physical, mental, financial, and social well-being are interrelated and the best holistic approach includes all these elements; and

    WHEREAS, engaged and healthier employees and students are more effective and productive, healthy and engaged consumers spend more, and communities with higher well-being have lower healthcare costs, vibrant economies, and thriving workforces; and

    WHEREAS, In January of 2021 the Office of the Surgeon General and the United States Department of Health and Human Services released a Community Health and Economic Prosperity report that raised awareness to business leaders of the advantage of investing in community health for the health of their businesses and the health of their local economy. The report shows the return on investment in community well-being is economic development including more prosperity and happiness for individuals, organizations, and the community at large; and

    WHEREAS, the City of Fort Worth, Texas has received national recognition for the partnership between city leaders Blue Zones Project - a Well-Being initiative that combined efforts from the City, the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce, Texas Health Resources and other local funders; and

    WHEREAS, Blue Zones Project Fort Worth worked with city leaders to design and implement significant policy initiatives with a goal to make healthy choices easier citywide and make Fort Worth one of the safest, most accessible, equitable and walkable large cities in the United States; and

    WHEREAS, the Blue Zones model improves the well-being of entire populations with a systems-focused multi-dimensional effort to reduce the impacts of chronic disease and comorbidities thus reducing the strain on the local hospital systems and the negative impacts on local economies and productivity; and

    WHEREAS, communities that create Blue Zones Well-Being initiatives will focus on the creation of a community "Well-Being Movement" including; converting local Directors of Health to Directors of Community Well-Being and launching a City Well-Being Index,

    NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors supports the pro-active systems approach to health similar to the City of Fort Worth including focus on prevention, healthy lifestyle and pursuit of optimal well-being, and the creation of Blue Zones initiatives to focus on the creation of a community "Well-Being Movement" including; converting local Directors of Health to Directors of Community Well-Being and launching a City Well-Being Index.

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