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Walla Walla, WA
Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Walla Walla Blue Zones Project

January 26, 2023
Austin Price

The Importance of the First Step - “Get Involved”

Austin Price

Walla Walla’s Blue Zones Project aims to benefit their community by providing more options for living a healthier life. The project is titled “Walla Walla Valley Blue Zones Project” with the intention of making Walla Walla one of these unique places in the world.  

But what is a blue zone? A blue zone is a place where people live the longest and are the healthiest. Originally, Dan Buettner founded the concept of a “Blue Zone Project” in different communities. He based it on the studies of Gianni Pes and Michel Poulain identifying Sardinia as the region of the world with the highest concentration of male centenarians. After seeing this, Buettner’s team searched for more locations where longevity was occurring. They discovered five main locations: Barbagia region of Sardinia, Ikaria in Greece, Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, Loma Linda in California, and Okinawa in Japan. They highlighted these locations with blue circles. Thus, referring to them as “Blue Zones.” [1] 

Buettner went on to identify nine lifestyle habits that are common in these blue zone locations. With his team, they developed a program outlining ways to live longer and healthier by implementing the lifestyles that the blue zone populations have. 

Walla Walla’s Blue Zones Project carries this focus on implementing a better lifestyle. They also promote the nine lifestyle habits, more commonly known as the “Power 9.” [2] 

The Power 9 are as follows: move naturally, purpose, downshift, 80% rule, plant slant, friends at 5, positive pack, loved ones first, and a sense of belonging.  

These nine lifestyle choices maintain the focus on having healthy behavior changes in a community. Seeing as it’s difficult enough to change as an individual, it may appear even more challenging to create community-wide change. However, when delving into the “Get Involved” tab of the project’s website, they acknowledge this challenge and combat it by arranging continual opportunities for people to get involved in Walla Walla’s community.  

The involvement doesn’t have to be grand. Small acts of involvement throughout the community are crucial sparks to the larger development of a blue zone: “When our entire community participates – from our worksites and schools to our restaurants and grocery stores – the small changes contribute to huge benefits for all of us: lowered healthcare costs, improved productivity, and ultimately, a higher quality of life.” [3]  

They additionally have listings on the website for events, challenges for health, volunteer opportunities, and many more ways to get involved in the community.  

At Walla Walla University, one of the core themes is generosity in service. This is an important value to uphold when thinking of getting involved in the community and more specifically when looking to help develop a blue zone here in Walla Walla, Washington. [4] 

Bob Goff, a prominent Christian author who is now a speaker on living impactfully, wrote: “Love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put love does.” [5]  

See what is upcoming, reach out to the local branch, and sign up to volunteer for future Blue Zones Projects through the links below:  



  1. History of Blue Zones. (2023). Blue Zones.  
  2. Buettner, Dan. (n.d.). Power 9. Blue Zones.  
  3. Welcome to Blue Zones Project. (2022). Blue Zones Project. 
  4. Walla Walla University. (n.d.). Our mission. 
  5. Goff, Bob. (2012). Love Does. Nelson Books. 
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