Members of Fort Worth’s district five pledged to live healthier lifestyles during the community-led Blue Zones party at the Handley-Meadowbrook Community Center Saturday.
The Blue Zones project was advocated by Mayor Betsy Price to improve health in the city by encouraging residents to exercise more, eat a vegetable-rich diet and create a supportive community atmosphere.
The party featured activities such as basketball with retired Dallas Mavericks player Sam Perkins, drills with members of NFL Retired Players Association and a bike that, when pedaled, turned produce into smoothies.
Zoe’s Kitchen, a Blue Zones approved restaurant, catered the event, serving mediterranean dishes with fresh vegetables. Chair massages by Point of Touch Massage gave party-goers a chance to unwind.
Kimberly Porter, senior manager for community strategy, said she organizes events like this because she believes everyone deserves affordable access to a healthy lifestyle.
Price thanked Texas Health Resources for investing in the privately funded program, and shared how she sees Fort Worth’s partnership with Blue Zones benefiting residents.
“It’s about making the healthy choices the easier choices,” Price said. “Making it easier for you to get out and walk by putting sidewalks in our neighborhoods where our children; and all of us can walk. Making it safer to cross the streets, making community gardens more available, mobile food trucks that are more available, working to address deserts, but also about making the option for you to find somewhere where you really belong; a group of friends that can support you.”
District nine councilwoman Ann Zadeh said the city recently created a master thoroughfare plan to align with the Blue Zone criteria: “Move naturally.”
“One of the things I’m most passionate about is the changes to infrastructure that make moving naturally in your community easier and safer,” Zadeh said. She mentioned sidewalks and bike lanes.
District five member and Zumba-enthusiast Marilyn Hamilton said she believes getting everyone to participate in activities like this could help reduce crime.
“I’m concerned about safety in the area,” Hamilton said. “A lot of people–we don’t know our neighbors, or communicate. So if we do then we can look after one another.”
Retired NFL player Cliff Odom said he thinks the best thing that Blue Zones Project does is bring people together.
“It takes a whole community to raise a child, even more now,” Odom said. “And getting everybody involved ain’t gonna do nothing but help make these guys a lot better. Better people, better athletes, better citizens.”
Upcoming events include cooking demonstrations, purpose workshops, and grocery store tours.