(Dodge County) Dodge County has officially been named a Certified Blue Zones Community. The Blue Zones Project – which came to Dodge County in 2016 – is a community-led, well-being, improvement initiative designed to make healthier choices easier by encouraging simple changes to environment, policy, and social networks. The certification recognizes the successful implementation of the program in inspiring community members to improve their well-being.
Dodge County achieved Blue Zones Community certification after reaching a series of key milestones. Among the successes: new policies and ordinances said to have paved the way for a decrease in adult smoking rates from 14.4-percent in 2014 to 9.8-percent last year. Obesity rates among two-to-five-year-olds declined from nearly 16-percent four years ago to just under 13-percent in 2019. Rechek’s Food Pride in Beaver Dam reported a 53-percent increase in produce sales since signing-on as a Blue Zones site.
There were also nearly one thousand volunteers who participated in small groups focused on walking or eating healthy. Over 3300 individuals took the Blue Zones Personal Pledge. Twenty-five percent (25%) of restaurants, grocery stores and schools because Blue Zones-approved along with 50-percent of the Top 20 identified local work sites.
Dodge County’s participation in the Blue Zones project was sponsored by Marshfield Medical Center-Beaver Dam where Chief Administrative Officer Angelia Foster called the certification “incredible.” Foster says the “significant achievement required tremendous commitment and effort from the entire community [in] making well-being a way of life and for setting a great example for other communities.”
Blue Zones founder and National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner applauded the efforts of “leaders and volunteers in Dodge County who have embraced the Blue Zones model and worked together toward this common goal of community well-being.”