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BCBSTX gives Fort Worth a 'Blue Zones' wellness grant worth up to $5 million

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas is giving a boost to efforts to make Fort Worth healthier.

With a $2.5 million Community Catalyst Grant that is expected to draw another $2.5 million in dollar-for-dollar matching donations, BCBSTX is supporting Fort Worth's participation in the Blue Zones Project to lower health care costs, increase productivity, and improve the overall quality of life.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas President Bert Marshall says, "We're pleased to support the Blue Zones Project in Fort Worth with our Charter Sponsorship investment. We share the common goal of making the healthy choice the easy choice. Our goal is to incentivize leaders in Fort Worth to raise the other $2.5 million in catalyst grant funds before the end of 2014."

The Blue Zones concept began in 2004 when Dan Buettner teamed with National Geographic and "longevity researchers" to identify places around the world where people live better and longer than Americans. They found nine common factors and applied them in a 2009 test in Lea, Minn. In just one year, healthcare claims for city workers dropped 49 percent. Buettner then formed the Blue Zones Project to spread his plans for healthy living across the country.