The HEAL Community Network is made up of communities throughout New Hampshire that are advancing strategies in the Healthy People Healthy Places Plan. The group meets quarterly to network, collaborate, and learn from one another the challenges and successes out in the field. Upcoming meetings are listed to the right.

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HEAL NH Community Network Steering Committee members

David Toth: Ashland, Town of Ashland

Lori Morann: Colebrook, North Country Community Recreation Center

Melissa Lee: Franklin, Franklin Regional Hospital

Kim Adie: Nashua, YMCA of Greater Nashua

Elizabeth Clark: Strafford County, Strafford County Public Health Network, Goodwin Community Health

Katherine McLaughlin: Monadnock Region, Cheshire Medical Center Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene

Ad Hoc members:

Susan Turner: Seacoast Region, Rockingham County Community Resource Network, Families First Health and Support Center

Updates from August 16, 2017 meeting

Public concerned about junk food marketing, consumption of sugary drinks effect on children’s health

The American Heart Association in New Hampshire has released results of a statewide public opinion poll on children’s health issues. The results of the poll, conducted in April, demonstrate major concern among voters about consumption of sugary drinks by children and indicate majority support for limiting the advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages in schools.

Among the highlights:

  • Nearly two-thirds of voters support a proposal to limit the advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages in schools in New Hampshire (65% support/30% oppose)
  • Nine out of ten voters believe that the consumption of sugary drinks by children is a problem (90% problem/8% not a problem, with 63% believing it is a major problem)
  • Voters level of concern with sugary drink consumption by children increased when they learned the associated health risks

“Before hearing persuasive messages in support of a policy to limit junk food marketing in schools, almost two-thirds of respondents indicated they would support it,” said Melissa Bernardin, Healthy Active Kids coalition coordinator at the American Heart Association in New Hampshire. “This support increased to almost three-quarters of respondents after hearing arguments linking food marketing and advertising to dietary preferences and diet related chronic disease affecting children.”

“Young kids can’t differentiate between advertising messages and other messages they receive about health and nutrition while they are at school. Schools need to be places where kids receive a consistent set of messages about healthy eating,” Bernardin added. “These results indicate public support for schools and communities working together to address these issues.”

“Sixty-three percent responded that children’s consumption of sugary drinks was a “major problem.”  Seven in ten respondents (70 percent) are very concerned when they are presented with information about increased risk of adult onset diabetes for those consuming one or more sugary drinks per day.”

Sugary drinks are the single leading source of added sugars in the U.S. diet and are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends that children over the age of 2 have no more than one 8-ounce sugary drink a week. Yet children today are consuming as much as ten times that amount.

An analysis of results by demographic criteria showed higher levels of support among women than men on the topics tested. Respondents not caring for children in the home responded no differently from those with children in the home. Of interest, respondents 65 years of age and older demonstrated higher levels of support for the proposal to limit unhealthy food and drink advertising in schools, and higher levels of concern for children’s sugary drink consumption, than younger age groups.

Global Strategy Group conducted the statewide survey of 601 registered voters in New Hampshire from April 20 to 25, 2017. Interviews were conducted on both landline and cell phones. The results of this survey have a margin of error of +/-4.0%. Care was taken to ensure the geographic and demographic divisions of voters were properly represented.

See the following attachments for more information:

AHA NH Poll - May Memo

AHA NH Survey - Deck for Media

Updates from August 17, 2016 meeting

Download August HEAL Community Network Updates

Featured Presentation: Plan4Health Nashua: A Model for Integrating Planning and Public Health at the Local Level
Presented by: Ryan Friedman, Nashua Regional Planning Commission; Kim Adie, Greater Nashua YMCA; and Michelle Morel, Morel Communications

Download Presentation
Ryan, Kim and Michelle presented Plan4Health Nashua (P4HN), which is a national award winning initiative that integrates public health and planning to advance Complete Streets design. They reviewed the initiative and shared the P4HN “toolbox”, including: Nashua Complete Streets Guide; Land Use Regulatory Audit; Level of Traffic Stress analysis for bicycling and walking; origins and destinations scoring to determine where improvements would have positive impact on the most vulnerable populations; use of GIS to identify gaps in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure; and strategic communications tactics to educate and engage the community and municipal leaders.

Resources and information discussed at our August meeting:

Videos demonstrating how to use vegetables found at the Farmers Market
Shared by Robin Peters, UNH Cooperative Extension

Upcoming events:

  • Complete Streets Study Committee is convening next week on August 23.
  • Complete Streets Forum on Sept. 7th. Partners will be working on aligning strategies
  • HEAL Conference is October 12th at Church Landing in Meredith
  • NH Food Alliance is holding its partner convening on Nov. 15th
  • Health Care without Harm is holding a forum in November. Multi-department teams from NH hospitals are invited to participate.
  • Farm to School Beacon Community Project:
    The New Hampshire Farm to School Beacon Community project will pilot how to move innovative farm to school practices forward and identify models for other communities across the state. The communities involved in this pilot project are Colebrook, Nashua and Somersworth.




Updates from May 11, 2016

Below are photos from our HEAL Community Network meeting on May 11, 2016. The network worked in small groups to discuss accomplishments and network for ideas on various projects. Highlights from communities included:

We finished off the meeting with an interactive presentation from Doris Demers, Director of Food Services at Oyster River School District and Amy Cassidy, Director of Food Services for Nashua School District. They spoke to us about successes and challenges in Food Services as well as advice for those advocating for healthy food in schools. Download resources on School Food, including "Tips for Advocates of Healthy School Food".

Upcoming HEAL Community Network Meetings - Join us!

Future Dates:

December 6, 2017

All meetings are held at the Foundation for Healthy Communities and are from 9:00am - 12:00pm. RSVP if you plan to attend.

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Learn more about featured community projects that promote Healthy Eating & Active Living in New Hampshire.