The Blue Zones Project Comes to St. Ann Catholic School

Our friends, family and neighbors are important to us, here in Naples. As grandmother of a kindergarten student, there is nothing more desirable than imagining her living a long, happy and healthy life.

The NCH Healthcare System, which first opened the doors in 1956, is one of the most progressive hospitals in the country with the NCH Baker Hospital Downtown and the NCH North Naples locations.

“Blue Zones” is a concept that has been advocated by Dr. Allen Weiss and his team at the NCH Healthcare System. The world’s best longevity researchers have identified geographical pockets where people live longer lives. In these Blue Zones, lifestyle characteristics were scrutinized and nine specific characteristics were identified. If people make small, gradual changes in the way they live, it could dramatically improve their well-being.

St. Ann has shone brightly as a beacon of light in the Naples community since 1956, also. Father Michael and Principal Gina Groch, along with Assistant Principal Rebecca Meinert and Sister Maureen have adopted the Blue Zones project for the school.

Changes are already in place to improve the lives of children at home, at school and at play. A Health and Wellness council has formed to guide students. No more sugary drinks are sold and the lunchroom is enhanced to encourage students to make healthier choices.

Physical activity isc integrated into daily lesson plans. The guidance counselor has implemented a program to teach mindfulness skills to students. A school butterfly/plant garden is taking shape under the watchful eyes of a Master Gardener. A healthy snack and cooking cart is used during lunch time.

The most popular change is that the playground is open for 30 minutes before school starts for children to enjoy.

The Blue Zones project incorporates scientific evidence and promotes personal well-being to guide people in the community toward better and healthier living. Even small, consistent changes in daily personal and dietary habits can improve longevity.

Changes in exercise, diet and social attachments will impact our children and ggrandchildren by giving them a chance to live longer,happy and healthier lives.

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