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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

How to Create Your Own Blue Zone - TV Smart Talk

Written by Nell McCormack Abom | May 16, 2013 9:56 AM

Don’t worry, be happy, eat well and live longer. That’s the essential message behind Dan Buettner’s bestsellers “The Blue Zones” and “Thrive.” He studied places around the globe that feature a high concentration of centenarians to unlock the keys to their longevity. We’ll talk to him tonight at 8 on Smart Talk and then explore what’s happening right now in Central Pennsylvania communities to get us moving more, eating healthier, being more joyful and living longer.  Post a comment below, or on Facebook or Twitter, to join the conversation.

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Every generation in every culture around the world searches for the elusive key to a long and fulfilling life. The truth is there isn’t one key. There are multiple ways to unlock a longer, healthier and more joyful life. Mike Ridgeway of the Coalition for a Bicycle-Friendly Lancaster will join us tonight. He literally wants to get people moving. Ridgeway leads an effort to encourage bike riding as an alternative to cars, vans and trucks. Regional cooperation could create safe bike lanes and bike-friendly routes, and when necessary, convince mass transit agencies and Amtrak to allow commuters to bring their bikes onboard. He says bicycling cuts pollution, trims waistlines and reduces stress. But first, we have to surmount some bureaucratic speed bumps.

“We have a geographic challenge in Central Pennsylvania,” Ridgeway contends. “Number one is metro planning. We have about five different planning organizations – York, Tri-County, Lebanon Valley, Lancaster - and they do not always agree regionally on a transportation corridor. We have to have the culture and political will, the leadership, to encourage this change in behavior.”

Dr. Jennifer Chambers, vice president and chief medical director of Capital Blue Cross, says the workplace can play a central role in leading the transformation to healthy living and greater longevity. The U.S. healthcare system, under the impetus of the Affordable Care Act, is shifting from a reactive approach to disease treatment to one that emphasizes early intervention and prevention.  Dr. Chambers believes the Blue Zones' Power 9 principles offer vital guideposts to better health outcomes.  She'll share some of the successes Capital Blue Cross has had with major employers to nurture healthier workplaces and improve employees' productivity and well-being.  What's good for the waistline, it seems, is good for the bottomline.

Erin Shrader, R.N., is a nurse care manager at WellSpan Health’s “Bridges to Health” program. Patients who are considered “superutilizers” are invited to participate in the program. These are patients whose medical expenses each year exceed $50,000 and who often require treatment in the emergency room -- one of the most expensive places in the hospital. They are assigned a health care team including a doctor, a nurse, a social worker and a health coach. The team’s goal is to better serve the individual’s medical needs while driving down the cost of his or her care. A member of the team is available to the patient 24/7, and can even make house calls. Shrader is a big proponent of the Blue Zones' principles and says the Bridges’ staff encourages family and community connections to bolster the well-being of their patients.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the key to longevity and a healthier Pennsylvania.  Join the conversation!



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