Corry is now on the map when it comes to promoting healthy living. Erie County officials are making the healthy choice the easy choice; that’s the mission behind ‘Blue Zones,’ and now, behind the city of Corry.
Experts tell us Blue Zones are places in the world where people live the longest and are the happiest. Corry is on track to become the first Blue Zones city in the Northeast.
Erie County officials say it’s a multi-faceted initiative with one common goal.
Melissa Lyon, Erie County Health Department Director, tells us, “We need to get committed around something as large as a Blue Zones Project to change the way that we live our lives so that we have less chronic diseases and can live healthier more thriving lives.”
It took years of planning and three important partners to solidify the plan: UPMC Hamot, Highmark Health and LECOM Health each pledging $1 million.
President of St. Vincent Hospital, Chris Clark, says, “It’s the right thing to do. This project has been proven successful in so many communities across the United States so we know that it’s gonna have a successful track record here.”
Leaders in the local health industry tell us investing in Blue Zones could save money in the long run.
Charles (Boo) Hagerty, of UPMC Hamot, says, “The United States spends $3 trillion on health care annually. That’s a lot of money, and 86 percent of that is spent on chronic diseases, which the majority of what can be managed.”
The project will formally launch in May, after a four-month foundation-building phase beginning in January.
Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive, tells us, “I think they’ll see a lot of activity around Blue Zones and they’ll see changes in their grocery stores and they’ll see changes at the restaurant. Things will be identified as a ‘Blue Zones Certified Entree,’ for example.”
Dahlkemper says they’re working with schools, senior centers, and other places people gather. She tells us she hopes Corry is a lead for something that will eventually take hold in all of Erie County.