‘Blue Zone’ comes to south Phoenix to improve health and quality of life

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The largest determinant of people’s health is where they live, and there is a 14-year life expectancy disparity between south Phoenix and north Scottsdale. Tomás León, President of Equality Health Foundation, and Deborah Helitzer, Dean of the College of Health Solutions at ASU, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss more.

Equality Health Foundation is a non-profit working to reduce health disparities, expand access to care and accelerate health education in underserved communities. They summarized and shared the key learnings from the Blue Zones Community Voices Pulse Report. This is the community response and feedback to the initial well-being assessment. They also discussed the support needed as we move toward implementation.

“Blue Zone’s Life Radius Model is based on longevity research of the longest lived cultures in the world,” León said. The founder of the organization identified commonalities among these cultures that contributed to a healthy lifestyle.

Blue Zones Community Voices Pulse Report

Many of the faculty at the ASU College of Health Solutions worked with León’s team to collect accurate information and listen to the community, according to Helitzer. “They developed the surveys and focus groups so that we knew that it was high quality, our collaboration,” Helitzer said.

“What we did is we partnered with Blue Zones and many other stakeholders to conduct a structured assessment of the state of wellbeing in the greater south Phoenix area,” León said. “That’s where there’s a great deal of life expectancy disparity that exists from someone that lives and grows up in south Phoenix compared to north Scottsdale.”

An assessment was conducted to identify the strengths, needs and areas for change. The ASU College of Health Solutions offered feedback on what is most important to the residents.

“We got feedback in terms of priorities around access to healthy foods, access to health care services, including mental health services. Also, a concern that came up was there’s a lot of organizations working on a number of different initiatives, but are they working together?” León said.

Tomás León, President of Equality Health Foundation; Deborah Helitzer, Dean of the College of Health Solutions at ASU

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