Cheshire County HEAL
Geographic community served:
All of Cheshire County
The HEAL initiative could potentially reach all 77,200 residents of Cheshire County. The city of Keene serves as the economic and cultural core of the county. With Keene's 24,769 population as an urban core, Cheshire County spans 707 square miles. The other 22 towns in the county are small rural New England towns spanning in population size from 429 (Nelson) to 5801 (Swanzey). Most citizens in Cheshire County live rurally and seek employment, attend schools or patronize food industry establishments located in Keene.
In 2005 Advocates for Healthy Youth (AFHY) collected body mass index (BMI) data on 2,366 students in grades K-9 to assess childhood obesity in the community. Data collected revealed that 38% of the students were overweight/obese. Data from the 2007 BRFSS indicates that over 60% of Cheshire County adults are overweight or obese, 47% do not meet the recommendations for physical activity and only 29% consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. NH DHHS death data for 2002-2005 estimates years of life lost (under 75) in Cheshire County from heart disease to be almost 900 compared to 787.5 for the state, for diabetes it is 160 compared to the state measure of 140. The statistics suggest that there is need for lifestyle interventions to prevent and manage chronic disease in Cheshire County.
To exceed the goals of the Vision 2020 initiative: to become the healthiest community in the nation by the year 2020. We will target before- and after-school programs, worksites and the food service industry to work toward increasing access to physical activity and expanding healthy nutrition options.
HEAL Sectors Targeted:
Business & Worksites
Food & Recreation Industries
- HEAL Coordinator has provided three training to help local businesses establish employee wellness programs.
- Since December, 2009 the HEAL Program Manager and the FIT Coordinator have been working with Bergeron Construction, a locally owned construction company to develop a nutrition education program for their employees.
- In April, 2010 a workplace walking program implemented at the Saving Bank of Walpole, with 61 of 86 employees taking part in the program.
- The "Turn a New Leaf" Program serves as the toolkit to promote HEAL initiatives in local restaurants.
Before and After School Programs
- To promote lifelong healthy eating and active living for students through integrated curriculum, communication, policies, practices and partnerships with families and communities
Businesses & Worksites
- To engage local businesses and worksites in adopting and promoting HEAL interventions among employees.
- To educate local employers regarding the HEAL action plan and provide each employer with a toolkit to promote HEAL practices.
- To create a toolkit to assist food industry partners in implementing HEAL practices and give recognition to those who provide opportunities for patrons to make healthy food choices.
Council for Healthier Community
City of Keene, Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department
SAU 29 Before and After School Programs
Keene Housing Authority
Advocates for Healthy Youth
Cheshire Coalition for Tobacco Free Communities
Cheshire Public Health Network
UNH Cooperative Extension
Keene State College
Cheshire County Afterschool Network
Cheshire County Conservation District
Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce