Officials today in Des Moines selected Muscatine as a Blue Zones community, along with Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Marion, Oskaloosa and Sioux City. Those Iowa cities and towns join Mason City, Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Spencer, which were named Blue Zones last year.
Of course, I tweeted news about the announcement and posted it on my Facebook page. And then I sent another tweet:
Another friend pointed out later on that his sandwich at lunch included three vegetables: ketchup, mustard AND a pickle. And yet another friend told me via Twitter that French fries really aren’t a vegetable.
The funny thing about these comments from my so-called friends is that they were made by people who, I’m pretty sure, eat healthier than many others in Muscatine. And they all exercise more than average, too. Their smart-aleck comments are to be expected because they were, after all, made by my friends. It’s also pretty common, I think, to joke about things that are new or maybe not understood.
Muscatine residents will begin hearing and learning more about Blue Zones in the weeks and months ahead. There will be skepticism. This is, after all, Muscatine. And the Blue Zones project has its critics in the communities where it has already been launched. I’ve seen and read some of the negative comments.
But any effort to help make Muscatine a healthier and better community can be viewed only as a good thing. I have blogged often about my efforts to lose weight, be more active and fit. My struggle is not unique. I see plenty of other Muscatine residents fighting the same battle, along with just as many who appear to have given up. They don’t move. They aren’t active. They eat too much. And far too often they eat too much of the wrong things. At far too young of an age, they wind up struggling with ailments once only known to the oldest among us.
Imagine how much better off we would all be, however, if we never again saw a very heavy young person — someone who is 40 or younger — forced to ride around Wal-Mart on a scooter.
This is an opportunity like any other we encounter in life. As a community, we will only get out of it what we are all willing to put into it. Being named a Blue Zones community could become one of the best things to ever happen to Muscatine if enough of us want to make it so.
I’m on board.