Posted on Aug 27, 2021

Palo Pinto General Hospital Nurse Practitioner Carla Hay-Perdue on Wednesday brought Mineral Wells Rotarians up to date on the local Blue Zones initiative. Carla is pictured on the right alongside club President Karyn Bullock.

Led by PPGH, entities across Palo Pinto County are collaboratively taking part in the discussions on the effort to transform the county into a certified Blue Zone health-conscious community, working with governments and businesses to create a culture of healthy choices and options for residents to improve lives by reducing obesity and the issues that come with it like diabetes and high blood pressure, thereby helping people live longer, happier and healthier lives.

Not only do Blue Zones help improve the lives of people living in the community, it also helps draw people and families who seek healthier lifestyles and choices. Mineral Wells is beginning a shift back to becoming a health and wellness community.

Palo Pinto County ranks low in studies of the health of its residents, which is not uncommon in communities with a large population of below-average incomes. Mineral Wells ISD has about three-fourths of its students qualifying for free or reduced-cost meals under federal guidelines. This group tends to eat more fast food and engage in fewer physical activities.
The creation of the Let's Grow Crazy farmer's market and mountain bike trails fall in line with things a Blue Zone community offers. Palo Pinto County is an outdoor recreation destination, providing many activities for people to enjoy activities in the fresh air and sunshine. Some restaurants locally offer healthy meal choices. Schools would be asked to offer students healthier foods in its cafeterias.
Carla said the initial step toward becoming a Blue Zone community involves a countywide assessment at a cost of $75,000. That cost would be shared among participating entities. After that, a Phase II implementation program would begin under the Blue Zones model. The costs associated with moving forward after the initial study are somewhat of an unknown at this point. Carla said there are grants available to offset the effort's costs.
She said she is working to answer the questions that have been raised, and a community survey to gauge local interest is being considered before committing to the initial assessment. The feeling is if the community agrees to do the assessment it will need to also commit to implementing the program and gaining certification.
Be looking for more information on the Blue Zones initiative and participate in a survey if asked to help determine how the effort moves forward.
Rotary Club of Mineral Wells meets every Wednesday at noon at Southside Church of Christ, with lunch catered by Sadie's Eats. Meetings are for club members, prospective members and invited guests.