The New Hampshire Obesity Prevention Program has released a new data brief, Physical Activity Among New Hampshire Adults. The report summarizes findings from the NH Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (NH BRFSS) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) State Indicator Report on Physical Activity, 2010 (SIRPA).

The report addresses the benefits of and barriers to physical activity, as well as physical activity rates for New Hampshire adults compared to income, education, and reported perceptions of health. County data are also presented.

The data brief shows that overweight and obesity are more commonly associated with lower levels of physical activity and higher rates of chronic disease. The CDC SIRPA provides information on physical activity behaviors and access, land use, and transportation policies within each state. New Hampshire data from the SIRPA showed that only 16% of New Hampshire census blocks have a park within a half-mile of their boundary. The SIRPA also reported that between December 2001 and December 2009 no state-level, community-scale design or land use policies were enacted. To help provide safe and accessible physical activity, it is suggested that communities address:

  • A lack of sidewalks and bicycle lanes on narrow or heavily traveled roads
  • Busy traffic intersections with inadequate crosswalks
  • Local zoning laws that discourage the connection between residential areas and schools and other destinations

In 2011, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, Obesity Prevention Program conducted a survey, in collaboration with the New Hampshire Association of Regional Planning Commissions, to assess existing municipal policies that relate to healthy eating and physical activity. A data brief detailing the survey results was released this summer.  NH Municipal Survey, 2011: Assessment of Municipal Policies Regarding Healthy Eating and Physical Activity provides baseline data on city and town policies that support physical activity and healthy eating.

For more information about the OPP, call 603.271.4551 or visit the program website: http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/obesity.htm.

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