Riverside University Health System-Public Health Launches Blue Zones Activate to Improve Well-Being in Riverside County

Blue Zones to explore and assess Riverside County’s well-being and create plan to help residents live better and longer

RIVERSIDE, Calif., Nov. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH) today announced the launch of Blue Zones Activate, a comprehensive policy-based initiative that uses an evidence-based approach to make healthy choices easier in all the places people spend the most time.

Spearheaded by RUHS-PH, the effort begins with an in-depth readiness and feasibility assessment of several communities in Riverside County that will help determine how to make them healthier places to live, work, grow up, and grow older.

“Our mission is to improve the health and lives of everyone in Riverside County, and we are committed to reducing the well-being gaps that currently exist,” said Kim Saruwatari, Director of Public Health at RUHS-PH. “We’re excited to partner with Blue Zones, a proven innovator in community well-being improvement, to make Riverside County a healthier, happier place where everyone can thrive.”

Blue Zones employs a proven solution in collaboration with communities to help people live better and longer. Research shows where people live has a bigger influence on their health than their genetics. Blue Zones tackles this “zip code effect” using scientifically proven lessons of longevity, health, and happiness gleaned from 20 years of research to boost the well-being of entire cities, towns, counties, and regions.

The Blue Zones approach focuses on the single largest determinant of health: the place we live. Instead of focusing on individual behavior change, Blue Zones helps communities make permanent and semi-permanent changes to policies, systems, streets, surroundings, and social networks so it’s easier for residents to eat wisely, move naturally, and connect more with others as they advance throughout their day. By improving the Life Radius®—the area close to home where most Americans spend 90% of their lives—Blue Zones transformations have been able to move the needle dramatically in improving overall population health and well-being. Participating communities have seen double-digit drops in obesity and smoking rates, economic investment in downtown corridors, grant funding awards to support policies and programs to improve health equity, and measurable savings in healthcare costs.

“We are excited to work with Blue Zones and other community leaders and partners to help improve the health of our entire region. This work will bring together many different organizations in a shared vision toward improving quality of life and well-being for everyone in Riverside County,” said Dr. Geoffrey Leung, County Public Health Officer at RUHS-PH.

Riverside County is blessed with leaders that want to build a community where everyone has access to a healthy, happy life,” said Ben Leedle, Blue Zones CEO and Co-founder of Blue Zones Project. “Improving well-being at the community level leads to healthier and happier residents, a better and more productive workforce, and a more resilient, vibrant economy. We are excited to work together to create a transformation plan that will improve the lives of current and future generations in Riverside.”

The Blue Zones team will connect with Riverside County leaders and organizations to begin immediate work assessing the strengths, needs, and challenges that residents are facing today. The work will survey countywide policy with a detailed focus on the cities of Banning, Coachella, Riverside, and the unincorporated communities of French Valley and Mead Valley.

Blue Zones will then create a transformation plan that, once implemented, can drive widespread improvements in well-being, reductions in healthcare costs, and improve economic vitality in the region. For more information, visit

About Blue Zones®

Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live better, longer. The company’s work is rooted in explorations and research done by National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner in Blue Zones regions around the world, where people live extraordinarily long and/or happy lives. The original research and findings were released in Buettner’s bestselling books The Blue Zones Solution, The Blue Zones of Happiness, The Blue Zones, Thrive, and Blue Zones Kitchen—all published by National Geographic books. Using original Blue Zones research, Blue Zones works with cities and counties to make healthy choices easier through permanent and semi-permanent changes to our human-made surroundings. Participating communities have experienced double-digit drops in obesity and tobacco use and have saved millions of dollars in healthcare costs. For more information, visit

About RUHS-Public Health

RUHS-Public Health is part of Riverside University Health System and was created to protect the wellbeing of Riverside County residents and visitors. Public Health offers a wide range of services and programs, with a staff of more than 700 doctors, nurses, health educators, social workers, nutritionists, communicable disease and community program specialists, managers and fiscal and support staff. The services include disease control investigation, nutrition education, immunization, epidemiology, injury prevention, home health visits, and so much more.

Ours is certainly a large department, but we aim to treat each client and visitor with care that is as unique and individualized as possible. Our mission is simple:  to promote and protect the health of all county residents and visitors in service of the well-being of the community. It’s all part of our vision for healthy people and a healthy community!
For more information, click

Jose Arballo Jr.
Senior Public Information Specialist, RUHS
[email protected]

Naomi Imatome-Yun
Editor in chief, Blue Zones
[email protected]

SOURCE Blue Zones

Riverside University Health System-Public Health (RUHS-PH) is excited to announce its partnership with Blue Zones Activate to improve the well-being of Riverside County residents. Blue Zones Activate is a nationwide initiative that helps communities create places where people naturally live healthier lives.

Riverside County has been selected as one of four communities across the country to pilot Blue Zones Activate. The pilot will focus on improving social connectedness, purpose, and physical activity in the county.

RUHS-PH will work with Blue Zones Activate to launch a countywide social media campaign and promote Blue Zones Activate events and workshops. In addition, RUHS-PH will provide technical assistance to community organizations interested in implementing Blue Zones Activate initiatives.

The Blue Zones Activate pilot will run from September 2019 to September 2020. For more information, please visit

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