GET SPA BUSINESS
magazine
Yes! Send me the FREE digital editions of Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines and the FREE weekly Spa Business and Spa Business insider ezines and breaking news alerts!
Not right now, thanksclose this window
People profile
Dan Buettner

Founder, Blue Zones LLC


In 2000, based on a WHO report that showed that Okinawans have the longest-disease free life expectancy in the world, explorer Dan Buettner led an expedition to the Japanese island.

A year later, with funding from the NIA and on assignment from National Geographic, he set out to find other longevity hot spots, and soon met Dr Giovanni Pes, who had identified an area in Sardinia with extraordinary longevity, and had coined the term 'Blue Zone' to describe it. Dr Pes had hypothesised that he would find a genetic variant supporting longevity in Sardinia, but instead found that close family and social bonds, daily physical activity and a plant-based diet seemed to be key to living a long life.

Buettner expanded the term Blue Zones into a concept – a method of identifying the world's longest-lived people and distilling their common denominators – and in addition to Okinawa, discovered three other areas where people live the longest: Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and the Seventh-Day Adventist community in Loma Linda, California.

With a team of medical researchers, anthropologists and demographers, Buettner spent eight years studying these Blue Zone populations in an attempt to further discover why they lived so much longer – at least 12 years more than the 71-year global average – and were so much happier.

His work has earned him celebrity status in the wellness world. He's had a National Geographic cover story and written four best-selling books. Buettner gets over 300 requests for speaking engagements every year and most recently addressed spa professionals at the Global Wellness Summit in Italy (see p78).

He feels hotels – and by extension spas – are the perfect places to incorporate the lessons of these Blue Zones, by offering some recommendations of the lifestyle characteristics that have produced the world's longest-lived people. By doing this, they could make a real difference. He also says spas should be measuring the life expectancy of their clients as an "uber-measure of wellbeing".

So, what are the lessons? Buettner identified what he calls the 'Power 9' – shared lifestyle behaviours that keep people thriving to the age of 100. These include moderate regular physical activity in the form of natural movement, life purpose, moderate caloric intake, plant-heavy diets, stress reduction, moderate alcohol consumption, social engagement, a strong family life, and engagement in spirituality or religion.

On the back of this, Buettner founded the Blue Zone Projects, which takes lessons from Blue Zone regions and applies them to communities looking to improve the health and wellbeing of their residents. Blue Zone Project developers work with governments, employers, health insurance companies, schools, grocery stores, restaurants and engineers to help people naturally move more, eat wisely and connect with others.

Since 2010, the organisation has worked with 26 communities – from US states to cities – with impressive results. In Albert Lea, Minnesota, for instance, after five years, the smoking rate plummeted 17 per cent; the average BMI was down 15 per cent; stress was down 9 per cent; exercise was up 9 per cent; and life satisfaction was up 12 per cent.

Buettner has achieved these remarkable numbers by applying things he's seen in the Blue Zones. In Okinawa, for example, women are born with a moai – a committed social network of friends who support each other throughout their lives. With loneliness shaving eight years off life expectancy, these connections are vital for longevity. In Buettner's Blue Zone Projects, he creates 'moais' for residents around shared interests.

It's these small things that help change a community, along with larger ones, like creating pedestrian-friendly roads and riverfront parks where people can walk and see friends, or working with restaurants to create smaller portion sizes and offer fruit – rather than fries – as the default side item.

The key, says Buettner, is to focus on long-term system changes. "When it comes to longevity, there's no pill, there's no supplement, there's no magic serum that's going to reverse, stop or slow ageing," he explains. "The best shot is shifting the focus from trying to change people's behaviour to trying to change their environment."

In the US, Buettner reports that a staggering 84 per cent of all medical costs are explained by physical inactivity, food choices and portion size, tobacco and unmanaged stress – all preventable and changeable factors.

"For the first time in human history, people are not dying of overwork and hunger. In fact, over two-thirds of the world population will likely die from largely avoidable chronic disease brought on because we've engineered physical activity out of our lives, and we consume too many of the wrong kind of calories," says Buettner. "The key to improving world health – and living longer lives – is reshaping our environment to make the healthy choice the default for people everywhere."

Spa delegates at this year’s GWS were captivated by Buettner’s presentation
Buettner has identified why people in Blue Zone areas live a much longer, happier life
Buettner has identified why people in Blue Zone areas live a much longer, happier life
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

MSpa: Your portable self-care retreat is closer than you think
MSpa is an industry leader in portable and inflatable spas. With over 20 models packed with luxury features like hydrotherapy jets, the company supplies luxury portable spas to professional wellness, hospitality and leisure facilities as well as selling direct-to- consumer. [more...]

Art of Cryo introduces Multi CryoHacking System, a next-generation lifestyle device
Art of Cryo has developed the innovative new Multi CryoHacking System (MCS) to ensure clients can achieve measurable and noticeable results in the shortest treatment time possible. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
Blu Spas, Inc.

Blu is a full-service firm offering consulting, advisory and operating solutions. [more...]
myndstream

myndstream was born out of the acquisition of one of the most rich and diverse catalogues of heritag [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
 

+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

REM UK Ltd - REM Spa: relax, breathe, be inspired
Welcome to REM, quality salon furniture, spa furniture & barber furniture made in Britain since 1918 Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

05-06 Mar 2023

World Spa & Wellness Conference

Excel exhibition and conference centre , London, United Kingdom
05-06 Mar 2023

CryoCON 2023

Renaissance at Plano Legacy West Hotel, Dallas, United States
+ More diary  
 
ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
 
SPA BUSINESS
SPA OPPORTUNITIES
SPA BUSINESS HANDBOOK
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS
ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2023
News   Products   Magazine
People profile
Dan Buettner

Founder, Blue Zones LLC


In 2000, based on a WHO report that showed that Okinawans have the longest-disease free life expectancy in the world, explorer Dan Buettner led an expedition to the Japanese island.

A year later, with funding from the NIA and on assignment from National Geographic, he set out to find other longevity hot spots, and soon met Dr Giovanni Pes, who had identified an area in Sardinia with extraordinary longevity, and had coined the term 'Blue Zone' to describe it. Dr Pes had hypothesised that he would find a genetic variant supporting longevity in Sardinia, but instead found that close family and social bonds, daily physical activity and a plant-based diet seemed to be key to living a long life.

Buettner expanded the term Blue Zones into a concept – a method of identifying the world's longest-lived people and distilling their common denominators – and in addition to Okinawa, discovered three other areas where people live the longest: Nicoya, Costa Rica; Ikaria, Greece; and the Seventh-Day Adventist community in Loma Linda, California.

With a team of medical researchers, anthropologists and demographers, Buettner spent eight years studying these Blue Zone populations in an attempt to further discover why they lived so much longer – at least 12 years more than the 71-year global average – and were so much happier.

His work has earned him celebrity status in the wellness world. He's had a National Geographic cover story and written four best-selling books. Buettner gets over 300 requests for speaking engagements every year and most recently addressed spa professionals at the Global Wellness Summit in Italy (see p78).

He feels hotels – and by extension spas – are the perfect places to incorporate the lessons of these Blue Zones, by offering some recommendations of the lifestyle characteristics that have produced the world's longest-lived people. By doing this, they could make a real difference. He also says spas should be measuring the life expectancy of their clients as an "uber-measure of wellbeing".

So, what are the lessons? Buettner identified what he calls the 'Power 9' – shared lifestyle behaviours that keep people thriving to the age of 100. These include moderate regular physical activity in the form of natural movement, life purpose, moderate caloric intake, plant-heavy diets, stress reduction, moderate alcohol consumption, social engagement, a strong family life, and engagement in spirituality or religion.

On the back of this, Buettner founded the Blue Zone Projects, which takes lessons from Blue Zone regions and applies them to communities looking to improve the health and wellbeing of their residents. Blue Zone Project developers work with governments, employers, health insurance companies, schools, grocery stores, restaurants and engineers to help people naturally move more, eat wisely and connect with others.

Since 2010, the organisation has worked with 26 communities – from US states to cities – with impressive results. In Albert Lea, Minnesota, for instance, after five years, the smoking rate plummeted 17 per cent; the average BMI was down 15 per cent; stress was down 9 per cent; exercise was up 9 per cent; and life satisfaction was up 12 per cent.

Buettner has achieved these remarkable numbers by applying things he's seen in the Blue Zones. In Okinawa, for example, women are born with a moai – a committed social network of friends who support each other throughout their lives. With loneliness shaving eight years off life expectancy, these connections are vital for longevity. In Buettner's Blue Zone Projects, he creates 'moais' for residents around shared interests.

It's these small things that help change a community, along with larger ones, like creating pedestrian-friendly roads and riverfront parks where people can walk and see friends, or working with restaurants to create smaller portion sizes and offer fruit – rather than fries – as the default side item.

The key, says Buettner, is to focus on long-term system changes. "When it comes to longevity, there's no pill, there's no supplement, there's no magic serum that's going to reverse, stop or slow ageing," he explains. "The best shot is shifting the focus from trying to change people's behaviour to trying to change their environment."

In the US, Buettner reports that a staggering 84 per cent of all medical costs are explained by physical inactivity, food choices and portion size, tobacco and unmanaged stress – all preventable and changeable factors.

"For the first time in human history, people are not dying of overwork and hunger. In fact, over two-thirds of the world population will likely die from largely avoidable chronic disease brought on because we've engineered physical activity out of our lives, and we consume too many of the wrong kind of calories," says Buettner. "The key to improving world health – and living longer lives – is reshaping our environment to make the healthy choice the default for people everywhere."

Spa delegates at this year’s GWS were captivated by Buettner’s presentation
Buettner has identified why people in Blue Zone areas live a much longer, happier life
Buettner has identified why people in Blue Zone areas live a much longer, happier life
LATEST NEWS
April opening for Heckfield Place's new nature-centric spa in heart of English countryside
Just as spring dawns across the UK this April, a brand new botanical spa will come to life in the grounds of English country hotel and retreat Heckfield Place in Hampshire.
Vast geothermal lagoon costing up to $500m could open in Québec in 2024
Plans for a net-zero geothermal bathing lagoon and chalet village near Québec City, Canada, are blazing a trail in sustainability.
Massage Heights experiences historic revenue growth
North American spa franchise Massage Heights has reported record-breaking revenues and peak company average unit volume (AUV) performance for the past year.
Google lays off 31 massage therapists as part of major staff cuts
Google has let go of 31 massage therapists after senior leadership cut its global staff base by 12,000 employees.
Nicholas Clayton joins GOCO Hospitality as president of new GOCO America division
GOCO Hospitality, global wellness consulting, development and management company, has appointed seasoned hospitality executive Nicholas Clayton as president of its recently-launched GOCO America divison.
New Global Wellness Summit report forecasts top 12 wellness trends for 2023
The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) has unveiled its annual trends report predicting the trends set to dominate the global health and wellness industry in 2023.
The Spa at Séc-he: upcoming Palm Springs spa to flow with legendary waters of 12,000-year-old hot spring
A large new hot springs and spa destination is coming to downtown Palm Springs, California, this April.
Wellness Access Institute launches to improve understanding of and accessibility to wellness
A new think tank called the Wellness Access Institute (WAI – pronounced why) has launched to help the industry address its biggest problems and drive research-based innovation.
Veronica Schreibeis Smith and Amir Alroy join GWS Advisory Board
The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) has announced the appointment of two international wellness thought leaders to its Advisory Board.
FaceGym heads down under with first Australian studio, partnered with Mecca
Facial fitness and skincare brand FaceGym has entered the Australian market with its first bricks and mortar studio in Sydney and a new deal with Australasian beauty retailer Mecca.
Emlyn Brown, Kent Richards and Sara Codner outline top priorities for spa and wellness leaders in 2023
Spa and wellness industry thought leaders gathered yesterday (26 January) at the Grow Well webinar – hosted by We Work Well – to share their plans, vision and strategies for 2023.
Elemis achieves B Corp Status
British skincare and spa brand Elemis has announced its new status as a Certified B Corp after almost two years of implementing changes to processes, and practices and launching new initiatives across the business.
+ More news   
 
FEATURED SUPPLIERS

MSpa: Your portable self-care retreat is closer than you think
MSpa is an industry leader in portable and inflatable spas. With over 20 models packed with luxury features like hydrotherapy jets, the company supplies luxury portable spas to professional wellness, hospitality and leisure facilities as well as selling direct-to- consumer. [more...]

Art of Cryo introduces Multi CryoHacking System, a next-generation lifestyle device
Art of Cryo has developed the innovative new Multi CryoHacking System (MCS) to ensure clients can achieve measurable and noticeable results in the shortest treatment time possible. [more...]
+ More featured suppliers  
COMPANY PROFILES
Blu Spas, Inc.

Blu is a full-service firm offering consulting, advisory and operating solutions. [more...]
+ More profiles  
CATALOGUE GALLERY
+ More catalogues  

VIDEO GALLERY

REM UK Ltd - REM Spa: relax, breathe, be inspired
Welcome to REM, quality salon furniture, spa furniture & barber furniture made in Britain since 1918 Find out more...
+ More videos  

DIRECTORY
+ More directory  
DIARY

 

05-06 Mar 2023

World Spa & Wellness Conference

Excel exhibition and conference centre , London, United Kingdom
05-06 Mar 2023

CryoCON 2023

Renaissance at Plano Legacy West Hotel, Dallas, United States
+ More diary  
 


ADVERTISE . CONTACT US

Leisure Media
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385

©Cybertrek 2023

ABOUT LEISURE MEDIA
LEISURE MEDIA MAGAZINES
LEISURE MEDIA HANDBOOKS
LEISURE MEDIA WEBSITES
LEISURE MEDIA PRODUCT SEARCH
PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS
FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTIONS