Thursday March 23rd, 2023 6:59PM

National Geographic Fellow to bring Blue Zone strategies to Hall County

A National Geographic Fellow and expert on the overall health picture of the people who make up communities will bring his findings to Gainesville in April.
Dan Buettner's visit is part of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce's VISION 2030 initiative.  Part of the initiative involves improving health.
"This is about the future of this community and the future workforce, and how can we collaborate better across all of the good works that are going on here in the county and meet that goal," Dr. Gale Starich said.
Starich, Dean of the Brenau University College of Health Sciences, is part of VISION 2030's Healthcare Initiative Consortium.
Buettner will meet with community groups prior to his April 21 presentation.  The groups will involve 25 to 30 people and include people in government, education and minority communities, according to Starich.
" start to plan, to tell him about what we've done so far, because there's a lot of really good things going on here in terms of community improvement and quality of life improvement...," Starich said.
Buettner's culminating summit in Gainesville will center on what so-called Blue Zones have in common.  He has studied the health of communities around the world and has identified Blue Zones, or places with great life expectancy.
"He wanted to kind of look at what makes up those communities.  Why are they so successful?  It kind of started an effort, which is a worldwide effort now to help communities," Starich said.
Starich and others on the Healthcare Initiative Consortium have compiled data in recent years into health snapshots.  One of those snapshots involved children's health, something she said makes people listen.
"What we think we're seeing in children is that their health status won't be as good as the adults now because of these chronic high levels of obesity ."
Buettner's visit is just a part of the work by Starich and others to educate the community on the data and nudge them into improving their health.
"We need kind of a little kick in the pants, and how can we work better together, because we really have to get serious.  This 2030 vision is coming up on us fast now."
The Blue Zone Community Summit is Thursday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m. at the Brenau Downtown Center.
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