New five-year plan calls for more focus on health equity and statewide policy changes

CONCORD, NH (October 14, 2014) – Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) NH will release a new statewide obesity prevention plan on October 16 in Meredith, New Hampshire. The “2014-2019 Healthy People Healthy Places Plan” is the second statewide action plan released in the past six years to guide healthy eating and active living activities in the Granite State, and will support the obesity prevention strategies outlined in the NH Department of Health and Human Services’ State Health Improvement Plan released last year.

New Hampshire’s first-ever obesity prevention plan, the HEAL Action Plan, was developed in 2008. During the past six years, over 60 cities and towns – encompassing over 30% of the state’s population – have been targeted by HEAL community partnerships for healthy eating and active living initiatives such as community gardens, safer parks, new bicycle-pedestrian paths, and healthier nutrition standards in schools. While the “Healthy People Healthy Places Plan” calls for continuing and expanding the successful HEAL community-level work, it also stresses the need for policy change at the state level and a focus on creating equitable access to healthy eating and active living resources for all residents, whether they reside in rural areas, such as Coos County, or urban areas, such as Nashua or Manchester.

“There are specific populations and geographic areas in our state with higher burdens of obesity and related chronic diseases,” explains HEAL Director, Terry Johnson. “These include low income and racially diverse urban neighborhoods, and rurally isolated communities where barriers exist to healthy living. An important theme of the ‘Healthy People Healthy Places Plan’ is equitable access to healthy foods, active transportation, and safe places to play and be active in an effort to reduce these health disparities.”

HEAL NH will lead one of New Hampshire’s largest statewide collaborations of organizations to accomplish the work in the “Healthy People Healthy Places Plan.” These HEAL partners, called the “Healthy People Healthy Places Network,” include people from a wide range of fields, including farms, schools, health care providers, businesses, town planners, transportation, and others working toward improved health, economic prosperity, and better quality of life for the state’s residents.

The HEAL Conference begins at 8:30am on Thursday, October 16, at Church Landing at Mill Falls, 281 Daniel Webster Highway, Meredith. Introduction of the “Healthy People Healthy Places Plan” will be at 10:30 a.m. Media representatives are invited to attend.  

Download "Healthy People Healthy Places Plan" Summary

Download complete "Healthy People Healthy Places Plan"

Download Oct. 16 Conference Presentations and Documents


About HEAL NH: The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) NH campaign began in 2008 and is led by the Foundation for Healthy Communities, a non-profit New Hampshire organization focused on improving health and health care through innovative partnerships. HEAL is supported by a collaboration of foundations and state agencies committed to promoting health and wellbeing for all New Hampshire residents. Funding is provided by HNH Foundation, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, Endowment for Health, NH Charitable Foundation, and NH Department of Health and Human Services.   

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