AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project

In January 2009, the City of Albert Lea, Minnesota began the AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project. Sponsored by United Health Foundation and led by Dan Buettner, the author of The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who've Lived the Longest, the Vitality Project's goal was to add 10,000 years to the lives of Albert Lea residents by encouraging them to make small changes in their daily lives.[1][2][3]

Vitality Project Initiatives

The AARP/Blue Zones Vitality Project is divided into several different initiatives.[4] The categories for the initiatives were habitat, social networking, community, and purpose. Some initiatives proved to be specific to one category while others spanned several categories.[5]


Early in the Vitality Project, organizers invited Dan Burden, a nationally recognized expert in the area of "walkabilty," to come speak to community leaders and do a "walkabilty audit."[17] In this audit, Burden toured Albert Lea on foot and pointed out ways that the city could make Albert Lea more walkable.[18] Since then the city has added sidewalk which connects several portions of a well traveled path around Fountain Lake.[19]


The City of Albert Lea, Minnesota put together a sustainability committee which focuses on keeping practices put in place by Vitality Project organizers and volunteers. The long-term goal is that the Albert Lea will have a Vitality Center where leaders of other cities, organizations, and individuals can come to learn about how making small changes in lifestyle as a community can help to improve health and life expectancy.[20]

On October 26, 2009, the Albert Lea City Council voted to designate the lower level of the Jacobson Apartment Building on Broadway Avenue in downtown Albert Lea as the Vitality Center. The space will be refurbished and updated to accommodate the Vitality Center. The city's goal is that the Vitality Center be opened in the first part of 2010.[21]

Media coverage

The Vitality Project was featured in a variety of news outlets and publications. Among them are Good Morning America,[22] USA Today,[8] Minneapolis Star Tribune,[23] Minnesota Public Radio.[24]

See also

External links


  1. Tomczyk, Amy, About the Vitality Project, retrieved 23 October 2009
  2. All About the Project: How AARP and Blue Zones created America's healthiest hometown, retrieved 23 October 2009
  3. Stultz, Sarah (14 October 2009), "Vitality Project leader: 'You've pulled it off'", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  4. Tribune Staff (13 October 2009), "Vitality Project participants add an average of 3 years of life expectancy", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  5. Resources, retrieved 23 October 2009
  6. Recorded Steps: Walking Moai, retrieved 23 October 2009
  7. Erickson, Jeshua (26 June 2009), "Walking Moai competition heats up", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  8. 1 2 3 Marcus, Mary Brophy (15 June 2009), "Town sets off on healthy path practicing 4 keys to longevity", USA Today, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  9. Stultz, Sarah (6 October 2009), "1 week remains to retake Vitality Compass", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  10. Tribune Staff (22 October 2009), "Vitality Living series: Kenyan foods, American life", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  11. Tribune Staff (3 October 2009), "Employers to be recognized for participation in Vitality Project pledge", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  12. Stultz, Sarah (9 September 2009), "Local diet, exercise workers welcome Blue Zones advice", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  13. Harvey, Ken (26 August 2009), "A Minnesota Blue Zone? It's closer than before",, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  14. Williams, Chris and Patrick Condon (14 October 2009), "Minn. city's get-healthy effort called a success", Associated Press, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  15. Stultz, Sarah (3 October 2009), "Final chance for attending a free purpose workshop", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  16. Stultz, Sarah (21 May 2009), "Expert: Purpose matters", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  17. Walkability Audit, retrieved 26 October 2009
  18. Engstrom, Tim (16 January 2009), "Walkable audit of Albert Lea offers Bridge Avenue ideas", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  19. Stultz, Sarah (7 October 2009), "City celebrates sidewalks around lake", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  20. Vitality Project 2010
  21. Stultz, Sarah (26 October 2009), "Council makes Vitality Center plans official", The Albert Lea Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  22. Ferran, Lee (14 October 2009), "Vitality Project: Did It Make a Town Healthier?", ABC News, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  23. Wolfe, Warren (13 October 2009), "Albert Lea healthy-living project ends - but surveys remain", Minneapolis Star Tribune, Albert Lea, Minnesota
  24. Baier, Elizabeth (13 October 2009), "In Albert Lea, lifestyle changes lead to healthier lives", MPR News, Albert Lea, Minnesota
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