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Blue-Washing?

For a while “green” was a term thrown around so indiscriminately, it led to a new term, “green-washing,” which referred to companies and practices claiming to be environmentally sensitive, without tangible activities to justify the label. 

The New York Times is reporting that another color is about to emerge with its own buzz  — maybe. 

"The term 'blue zone' was coined two decades ago when Dan Buettner, an explorer for National Geographic, was investigating places around the world where people regularly lived to 100 and beyond. He deduced that residents of these mostly small, remote locales had such long, healthy lives because they stayed active, ate plant-based meals and formed lasting social ties, among other practices.”

"Now the real estate industry has jumped into the game. Blue Zones (the company that was founded based on Buettner’s research) runs initiatives that certify towns and cities that meet healthy lifestyle criteria, and they help others remake themselves to promote longevity. The initiatives — often funded by health care systems and insurance companies with a vested interest in a hale and hearty population — promote solutions like smoking bans, biking paths and group activities that foster a sense of belonging.”

The article reported that eighty places in the United States — from Bakersfield, Calif., to Corry, Pa. — have adopted these initiatives, called Blue Zone Projects. But it also points out that some claims are dubious from the start. 

A luxury hotel and condominium project in Miami is using the Blue Zones moniker for a medical facility on the premises that will offer plastic surgery. 

“This is like Lifestyle Medicine 101,” said Janelle Applequist, an associate professor in the Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications at the University of South Florida. “This is stuff we’ve known forever. They’re just repackaging it.”

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