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Obesity Prevention in NH Communities

January 03, 2013 at 3:13 PM

A new easy-to-read report from the Obesity Prevention Program (OPP) summarizes the findings of a study of New Hampshire city and town policies that support healthy eating and active living. The Municipal Survey Report: Obesity Prevention in New Hampshire Communities provides data, resources, and sample policies.

Obesity has real economic costs that affect us all. They include health care, lost productivity (absenteeism and disability), high school graduation, and transportation costs. Nearly 10% of annual medical spending is obesity-related. Obesity increases risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, cancer, sleep apnea, and depression.

Survey questions were based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Measures Project, which recommends strategies that allow cities and towns to support:

  • Daily physical activity
  • Affordable healthy food and drink
  • Breastfeeding
  • New obesity-prevention partnerships

Out of the state’s 234 municipalities, 137 cities and towns responded. That represents 73% of the state population. The survey was developed by the OPP with assistance from New Hampshire’s nine regional planning commissions.

By improving access to affordable healthy foods, physical activity and recreation, cities and towns make the healthy choice the easy choice. In the survey, New Hampshire communities reported:

  • Over 85% have playgrounds and parks, walking and hiking trails, and snowshoe or cross-country ski trails, while only 24% have paved streets with sidewalks.
  • 4% have a policy to support employees that choose to breastfeed their babies.
  • 37% have a medium or large grocery store.
  • 29% have a community garden.
  • 57 cities and towns reported 100 farmers’ markets.
  • Nearly 20% have a partnership that addresses healthy eating and active living.

The new report and a related data brief provide more details. Both are posted on the OPP’s data page. For more information, call 603.271.4551 or visit the OPP website. Additional information about healthy cities and towns at can also be found online.

Tags: Partners Health Community and Economic Vitality
Category: Guest Bloggers

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