Emily Neal, representing the Decorah Blue Zones Project, spoke to the School Board Monday night. She said the state Blue Zones officials were regrouping regarding how the project could be expanded to include smaller communities. She said the recent rejection of Decorah as a Blue Zone community was actually a decision by the state officials to work with larger cities in an effort to make a bigger statewide impact. Now they are regrouping on how make the program more expansive to smaller communities.
Neal presented some startling statistics to the Board regarding the growing percentage of overweight and obese Iowans, including 40 percent of K-4 students in that category in the Decorah Schools. Beyond the health impact, she noted the driving factor for some decision makers is the major societal cost factor involved with unhealthy living. She challenged the Board to "to implement policies and practices that build healthy practices into the daily lives of students." There will be a Blue Zone meeting on March 6, 6:30 in the City Hall. The School Board has committed to send representatives to that meeting.