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Blue Zones Project Siouz City Announces Designated Blue Zones Worksite

Sioux City, Iowa – July 24, 2013 – Blue Zones Project™ Sioux City today announced UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s as a designated Blue Zones Worksite™ in Sioux City. St. Luke’s has fulfilled the Blue Zones Worksite designation criteria with participation by at least 25 percent of St. Luke’s approximately 1,200 employees.

"The Blue Zones Project team is thrilled that UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s has taken the initiative to become a designated Blue Zones Worksite in Sioux City," said Community Program Manager Sue Brown. "By completing the certification process, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s has demonstrated their commitment to create a healthier environment in which to work by supporting the well-being of their employees.”

St. Luke’s has worked hard to be a healthy worksite for many years. We are proud of the culture of wellness at St. Luke’s and pleased so many of our employees embrace the Blue Zones® principles in all aspects of their lives including work and home,” says Peter Thoreen, President and CEO of UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s.
St. Luke’s completed designation criteria in the areas of leadership, purpose, habitat and physical environment, engagement and creation of social networks, policies and benefits and well-being solutions.

While St. Luke’s had many of the designation criteria already in place, Blue Zones Project provided additional objectives for the hospital to achieve. Many of the hospital’s policies and programs including St. Luke’s health care plan, ICARE workplace standards, ergonomic program and wellness program support Blue Zones Project.

“As a health care system, St. Luke’s knows the value of making healthy choices. We are excited to be honored as a Blue Zones Worksite, and we hope to inspire other employers in the community to transform their worksites into healthier environments for employees,” adds Thoreen.

Brought to Iowa through an innovative sponsorship by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, in collaboration with Healthways and Blue Zones®, Blue Zones Project is a community-by-community well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to environment, policy, and social networks.

UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s is one of the region’s most patient and family-centered hospitals, delivering innovative care to communities in the tri-state area including Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. St. Luke’s treats more than 77,000 patients annually, coordinating care from the doctor’s office to the hospital and back home through St. Luke’s, UnityPoint Clinic and UnityPoint at Home. Together, through UnityPoint Health – Sioux City, St. Luke’s health care professionals and physician partners all work toward the same goal: getting patients healthy sooner and keeping them healthy.

For more information about how to become a Blue Zones Worksite, contact the Blue Zones Project team at 712-224-6042 or visit www.bluezonesproject.com.

Sioux City is one of 18 Blue Zones Project demonstration sites in Iowa. Sioux City and the other demonstration communities are receiving assistance from experts to develop and implement a blueprint for making permanent environmental, social and policy changes that transition people into healthier behaviors that can lead to longer, happier lives.

The Blue Zones Project is based on Blue Zones® principles developed by Dan Buettner and is the centerpiece of the Healthiest State Initiative to make Iowa the healthiest state by 2016 as measured by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, the first-ever daily assessment of U.S. residents' health and well-being. Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better lives by taking a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, social networks and the built environments where people spend their time.

About Wellmark

Wellmark, Inc. (www.wellmark.com) does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, and Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Healthways

Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 40 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com.

About Blue Zones®

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The Company's work is rooted in the New York Times best-selling books The Blue Zones and Thrive—both published by National Geographic books. In 2009, Blue Zones applied the tenets of the books to Albert Lea, MN and successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs for city workers by 40%. Blue Zones takes a systematic, environmental approach to well-being which focuses on optimizing policy, building design, social networks, and the built environment. The Blue Zones Project is based on this innovative approach. For more information, visit www.bluezones.com.


Kim Gordon
Engagement Lead
Blue Zones Project Sioux City