Better well-being is now the bottom line for more than 100 Fort Worth area companies as the city progresses toward becoming a nationally certified Blue Zones Community. It’s the final step of Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth’s well-being improvement initiative that has gained momentum across the city since kicking off in February 2015.
Employers represent one of Blue Zones Project’s main areas of focus, and the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce has played a key role in Blue Zones Project from the beginning. In 2013, the Chamber partnered with Mayor Betsy Price and Texas Health Resources to invite Blue Zones Project to Fort Worth, and many chamber businesses have since joined the city’s effort to make healthy choices easier. In fact, the Chamber itself is one of 116 local worksites to become Blue Zones Project Approved. Participating employers, which also include Lockheed Martin, Bell, and Tarrant County, make small changes to optimize their environments—for example, creating on-site walking routes, designating a place for employees to downshift, and encouraging volunteerism. The changes have impacted 57,000 members of the Fort Worth workforce.
“We spend a majority of our waking hours at work, so employers are in a powerful position to improve the overall health of a community,” said Matt Dufrene, vice president of Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth. “These changes are good for individual employees and for business. We see increased productivity, decreased turnover, and reduced healthcare costs.”
The movement to better well-being also counts 59 restaurants, including Texas Christian University’s Market Square and the employee cafes at Lockheed Martin and Bell. Meanwhile, more than 80,000 individuals have gotten involved. 19 grocery stores have become Blue Zones Project Approved, and there are 37 Blue Zones Project Approved school campuses in five districts. The city has also seen important policy changes, such as a comprehensive smoking ordinance that went into effect this spring and the expansion of the urban agriculture ordinance to enhance access to fresh produce in “food deserts.”
Fort Worth is on course to receive Blue Zones Community certification by the end of 2018.
“A healthier community means higher quality of life, which is essential to a strong economy,” said Bill Thornton, Chamber president and CEO. “We will attract and retain more business and industry as Fort Worth raises its profile as a great place to live, work, and play.”
Join the movement by taking the Blue Zones Personal Pledge, attending a Blue Zones Project activity, or getting your business involved. Find out more on the Chamber’s website.