Ten Minutes With: Blue Zone Proponent
Beverly Brokaw healed herself and wants to help the whole town be healthier
Photo by Xenia Gross
Beverly Brokaw and her husband JB were seeking greener pastures to raise their three boys Declan (12), Jake (ten), and Liam (eight) and settled in Wilton. Since then, Brokaw, who is now also an integrative health coach, has become passionate about healthful living. She hopes to inspire Wiltonians to embrace the idea of becoming the first Blue Zone community in the northeast.
What is a Blue Zone community?
It’s a community that leverages the common principles discovered in Dan Buettner’s reporting on the Blue Zones around the world— rare longevity hotspots. The Blue Zones Project is helping to transform communities across the U.S. by helping to make the healthy choice the easy choice. People live longer and with a higher quality of life.
What attracted you to this idea?
I’ve been challenged with multiple autoimmune conditions—Lyme, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus among others—yet I’ve been able to wean myself off of all medications. It was $30,000 plus a month! I did this through research, hard work, and taking a 360-degree view of my health. While watching the “Today Show” one day I saw Dan talking about BZ principles. They aligned 100 percent with the lessons I’ve learned that have helped me take back my health. I want to help other people avoid what I’ve been through and hopefully, at the same time, improve the quality of life for our town.
How common are Blue Zones in the U.S.?
Currently, there are 42 Blue Zone communities. They have seen significant and measurable reductions in disease rates, obesity, tobacco usage, and subsequent health care costs while seeing increases in volunteerism, work and school productivity, connectedness and wellbeing as measured by the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index.
What role does the city or town play? Town leadership needs to be fully on board and aligned with the goals of the project. It’s not meant to replace current initiatives or reinvent any wheels. Each town’s certification is unique to its needs. Blue Zone experts would help determine what initiatives already meet the criteria and what else we need to do to meet the certification. The idea is to take small, easily achievable steps that will bring about big changes. My goal is to see if this can be publicly supported yet privately funded.
Are there economic benefits?
I believe having a Blue Zone designation could attract a wider array of businesses and make Wilton a magnet for health-conscious consumers seeking healthy shopping, dining, and recreation experiences. Recognition as a Blue Zone can help Wilton attract new residents of all ages who want to live in a community actively taking steps to ensure their health and happiness.
How could Wilton take the first step to becoming a Blue Zone community?
I’m hoping that community leaders, educators, non-profit groups, business people, and citizens will attend a town wide informational meeting at the Clune Center on October 23 at 7 pm.