Blue Zones Project®, North Hawaii

This is a new monthly column that offers updates on the region’s newest focus: Blue Zones Project®. As you may have read in past stories, North Hawaii was selected in Feb. as one of three Blue Zones® communities in the state that will implement a community-wide, well-being improvement initiative to help residents make healthy choices easier in Hawaii.


If you were offered the chance to live an extra five, 10 or more years, and remain healthy and active, wouldn’t you take it? The great news is you have that opportunity and you don’t have to overhaul your entire life to do it. The secret to living longer and better can be found in the simple things you do every day, like the foods you eat, the company you keep, and your overall outlook on life.

Residents living in Blue Zones areas share common principles called Power 9® — healthy lifestyle habits.


It all started when a team of researchers and scientists set out on a seven-year quest to uncover the secret to leading longer, healthier and happier lives. They discovered five places in the world, called Blue Zones® areas, where people enjoy active lives with less illness well into their golden years.

Although each Blue Zones area has its own recipe for living longer, there are nine common ingredients that the people living in these communities share, which all contribute to their well-being. These nine powerful, but simple lifestyle behaviors focus on moving naturally, eating wisely, knowing your purpose, and belonging to a social community. The Power 9® Principles are:

1. Move Naturally (be active without having to think about it)

2. Know Your Purpose

3. Down Shift (slow down daily, rest, take vacation)

4. 80% Rule (stop eating when you are 80% full)

5. Plant Slant (eat more veggies, less meat and processed foods)

6. Wine @ Five (one alcoholic beverage per day)

7. Right Tribe (create a healthy social network)

8. Community (be part of a spiritual community)

9. Loved Ones First (make family a priority)

You, too, can boost your own well-being by applying the Power 9 Principles to your daily life. These are easy tips you can live by to help you get the most enjoyment out of life. The great news is, you don’t have to take on all nine of these lifestyle behaviors at once to enjoy their benefits. After all, improving your well-being is not about adding more to your “to do list,” or restricting yourself to “do this, not that.” It’s about simplifying and doing the little things that add more meaning to your life – like slowing down, spending time with the people you love, eating foods that give you energy, and doing activities you enjoy.

Stay tuned each month for smart tips, based on the Power 9.

North Hawaii is one of only three communities in the state selected as a Blue Zones Project demonstration site. The community will kick off the Blue Zones Project on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Kahilu Theatre and Kahilu Town Hall in Waimea with a free, family-friendly event. Blue Zones Project by Healthways is brought to Hawaii by HMSA. Learn more at

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