A collaborative project integrating planning and public health where we live, learn, work, and play.

About the Project

  • Supports a healthy, economically vibrant community with roads that provide safe access for all users
  • Focuses on Complete Streets philosophy and guidelines to encourage bicycle and pedestrian transportation in Nashua
  • A priority strategy of the 2015-2018 Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), supported by the Greater Nashua Public Health Advisory Council

Plan4Heath Nashua Mini-Webinar Highlights Coalition’s Complete Streets Project


This 16-minute webinar was developed to help communities that may be interested in developing Complete Streets guidelines. Camille Pattison and Ryan Friedman of the Nashua Regional Planning Commission explain the coalition’s level of traffic stress (LTS) analysis to determine the walkability and bikability of Nashua streets. They also discuss how community partnerships and outreach to area residents helped them obtain critical biking and walking feedback that will be used, along with the LTS data, to help inform a Complete Streets guidebook.



Plan4Health Video Explains Link Between Planning and Health

Members of the Plan4Health Nashua coalition met with Nashua’s Mayor on the steps of City Hall to discuss Complete StreetsMembers of the Plan4Health Nashua coalition met with Nashua’s Mayor on the steps of City Hall to discuss Complete StreetsThe Plan4Health Nashua project is bringing the City of Nashua to the forefront as a leader in New Hampshire in advancing Complete Streets at the municipal level. The coalition developed an informational video to help demonstrate that people’s ability to make healthy choices are improved when health is integrated into comprehensive planning processes.  

The goal of the Plan4Health Nashua project is to advance street planning and design that support safer and easier ways to get around for pedestrians and bicyclists.The project is supported by the Greater Nashua Public Health Advisory Council, and was selected as a priority project for implementation in Nashua’s 2015 Community Health Improvement Plan. Plan4Health Nashua is a collaboration between planning and public health professionals, including the Nashua Regional Planning Commission, the City of NashuaNew Hampshire Public Health Association (NHPHA), and Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL NH).

Please view and share the Plan4Health Nashua Complete Streets video below:





Plan4Health Nashua in the News:

Coalition Activities:

  • Identify and convene partners
  • Conduct street mapping and data analysis
  • Audit current regulations and ordinances
  • Develop Complete Streets training guide
  • Educate about Complete Street strategies
  • Engage partners and community through strategic communications

Short-Term Outcomes:

  • Build on strong multi-agency efforts to reduce chronic disease in Nashua through the Greater Nashua Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP)
  • Grow coalition by engaging more partners with a wide range of expertise and influence
  • Improve perceptions about physical activity within the community
  • Establish support and tools for a Complete Streets way of thinking

Long-Term Outcomes:

  • Nashua_Downtown_smDowntown Nashua: Nashua continues to make strides in street planning and design that make it easier for pedestrians and bicyclists to travel safely.Make it more convenient for people to be physically active by increasing access to safe active transportation
  • Decrease the burden of obesity and chronic disease in the City of Nashua
  • Support a healthy, economically vibrant community






Below are pictures highlighting the downtown Nashua, NH area:

downtown mural_sm   sheltered bike rack_sm
camille sitting on a bench downtown_sm   downtown decorative crosswalk_sm
 downtown garden crosswalk_sm    downtown tree garden5_sm
 downtown garden sidewalk zoomed out_sm    

Members of the Plan4Health Nashua coalition met on October 19, 2015 to discuss efforts to support Complete Streets in Nashua. They were joined by Mayor Donnalee Lozeau and Matt Makara, Program Manager at the American Public Health Association in Washington, D.C. -Courtesy Photos from APHA





HEAL partners with Bike-Walk Alliance of NH and Transport NH to lead a growing coalition of organizations who believe that having a statewide Complete Streets policy will lead to more livable communities that increase the safety, health and well-being of NH citizens and create economic opportunity through increased tourism and retail sales, as well as attracting skilled young workers who prefer to live and work where they can walk, bike and take transit.

The following are members of the Complete Streets Coalition:

Tim Blagden, Bike-Walk Alliance of NH

Scott Bogle, Bike-Walk Alliance of NH

Mari Bruner, Southwest Region Planning Commission

Abby Easterly, QC Bike Collective

Todd Fahey, AARP NH

Ben Frost, NH Housing Finance Authority

Gretchen Gandini, WOW Trail

Meena Gyawali, Community Development Finance Authority

Rebecca Harris, Transport NH

Patricia Higgins, State Representative for Hanover

Felice Janelle, NH Department of Environmental Services

Terry Johnson, Foundation for Healthy Communities

J. B. Mack, Southwest Region Planning Commission

Rob Mack, City of Concord

Sarah Marchant, City of Nashua

Doug McNutt, City of Nashua

Nathan Miller, Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission

Kelly Paquette, Goodwill Northern New England

Mike Rollo, American Cancer Society

Shanna Saunders, City of Laconia

Will Stewart, Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce

Rick Taintor, City of Portsmouth

Craig Tufts, Central NH Planning Commission

Nancy Vaughan, American Heart Association

Sylvia von Aulock, Southern NH Planning Commission

Matt Waitkins, Nashua Regional Planning Commission

Findings connect health, economic growth to parks in 10 communities. For over a year, the HEAL NH Active Recreation Workgroup conducted an inventory of public recreation spaces in 10 of New Hampshire’s highest need communities. The resulting report, “Recreation Access in NH Communities,” was released last month.


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Inspire, Empower, Embrace… 

What does it take to build a healthy community? 

  • Community vision to create healthy places where people live, learn, work, and play 
  • An understanding of community needs to improve access to healthy food and physical activity 
  • Community partnership comprised of leaders and champions working together to effect change 

Across New Hampshire, communities, organizations, and groups are partnering to take action on their communities’ priority health issues; action that requires working collectively, thinking differently, and building the skills and capacity to accomplish this work. 

This workshop series is designed to strengthen skill and leadership capacity for creating partnerships, implementing policy, and changing systems so NH communities have the opportunity for “healthy people in healthy places.”

Who is this designed for?  Anyone involved in initiatives, projects, or coalitions focused on community health planning, promotion, or education.  

Download the series flyer for detailed information and session descriptions

Join us for one or all of this 8 part series designed to provide participants with the steps and skills needed to create and sustain a healthy community! 

Upcoming workshops:

8. "Evaluating Community Change"

Presented by: Anne Nordstrom, PhD, MBA and John Erdmann, MS, Antioch University

With so many projects and programs, how do you measure the impact of a community initiative? How do you measure the collective work of a coalition and its partners? In this workshop, participants will learn to assess the progress and impact of the community change making process as a whole. The various levels and processes involved in evaluation will be discussed as well as the how to identify which questions to ask to build an effective evaluation plan. Participants will walk away with the basic skills and concepts to create an evaluation plan for their community initiative.

Download Flyer

Thursday, June 8, 2017: 10:00AM - 3:00PM
Location: Comfort Inn, Concord, NH (Merrimack Room), 71 Hall Street, Concord, NH
Registration Fee: $60

Register online


Email Beth Gustafson Wheeler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

* These workshops are co-sponsored and presented by:  

This workshop series is brought to you by:


Past workshop details:

1. Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills* 

Presented by: Sue Cagle and Sharon Cowen, UNH Cooperative Extension

This two-day workshop will help you develop skills and strategies to more effectively and efficiently facilitate work groups, community groups, coalitions, and collaborations. Through this training, participants will learn to:

  • Create collaborative relationships
  • Design and customize processes to meet the needs of specific groups.
  • Develop intentional facilitation practices and use facilitation mapping to design meetings.
  • Identify behaviors that hinder and help a group process.
  • Strengthen participatory and interpersonal skills and increase ability to manage group conflict.

Thursday & Friday, March 17 & 18, 2016
8:30 AM—4:00 PM 
Location: Society for the Protection of NH Forests, Concord, NH
Fee: $120 


Thursday & Friday, May 19 & 20, 2016 
8:30 AM—4:00 PM 
Highland Center, Crawford Notch, Hart’s Location, NH 
Fee: $120 

2. Coalition Building using Collective Impact* 

Presented by: Sue Cagle and Sharon Cowen, UNH Cooperative Extension 

This workshop will explore the principles of Community Collaboration and Coalition building and explore how collaboration can be strengthened. The Collective Impact Model will be reviewed and participants given the opportunity to apply Collective Impact principles and strategies to their work. Participants will:

  • Understand the levels of community collaboration and situations in which each level might be appropriate.
  • Understand the collective impact model and when and why it is used in communities.
  • Apply the collective impact framework to real world situations and explore how using the collective impact framework might benefit the community in which it is applied.

Thursday, April 7, 2016
9:00 AM—4:00 PM 
Location: Foundation for Healthy Communities, Concord NH 

3. Community Readiness Assessment Training: Is your community ready to take action? 

Presented by: Regina Flynn & Scott Foster, NH Division of Public Health Services

The Community Readiness Model was developed at the Tri-Ethnic Center to assess how ready a community is to address an issue. The basic premise is that matching an intervention to a community’s level of readiness is absolutely essential for success. Efforts that are too ambitious are likely to fail because community members will not be ready or able to respond. To maximize chances for success, the Community Readiness Model offers tools to measure readiness and to develop stage-appropriate strategies. This session will provide participants with the skills and understanding to:

  • Assess communities readiness about an issue
  • Build relationships
  • Gain a better understanding of the issue in the community
  • Define and tailor strategies appropriate for the “readiness” of a community

Thursday, June 2, 2016
9:00 AM—2:00 PM 
Location: Foundation for Healthy Communities 

4. Facilitation Challenges and Tips for Success* 

Presented by: Sue Cagle and Sharon Cowen, UNH Cooperative Extension

This interactive, one-day workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to learn and apply facilitation tools and strategies to a variety of common group situations. The causes of common facilitation challenges will be explored and participants will have the opportunity to work with other facilitators to develop successful tools for responding to challenging situations. Download flyer for more information.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016
9:00 AM—3:00 PM 
Location: Foundation for Healthy Communities, Concord, NH 

5.“Shhhhh, listen...It’s the community talking!” Effective practices of community engagement and involvement

Presented by: Molly Donovan and Sue Cagle, UNH Cooperative Extension

Strong, vibrant communities have an active and engaged citizenry. Effective engagement leads to increased public understanding, input and support for community ideas and decisions and helps to grow local leadership. This workshop will provide you with the skills to do effective outreach and engagement in your community – and to understand the difference! We will cover the benefits and challenges of community engagement. You will learn how to identify audiences to engage such as the business community, residents, leaders, youth and under-represented groups. You will hear about the many engagement tools you can use such as storytelling circles, focus groups, rich pictures, interviews, posters and story maps. You will come away with the skills to develop and implement a targeted – volunteer led - plan for community engagement and in doing so, strengthen your project and community.

Thursday, December 8, 2016: 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM (lunch included)
Location: Foundation for Healthy Communities, Concord, NH

6. “Setting the Stage for Policy Change in Your Community:

Advocacy strategies, skills and tools for local initiatives”

Presented by:

Melissa Bernardin
Campaign Coordinator 
Voices for Healthy Kids-NH 
American Heart Association


Nancy Vaughan
Director of Government Relations 
American Heart Association

Looking to advocate for policy change to support healthier, more vibrant communities? This one day workshop will introduce you to campaign planning tools and strategies to engage your community in policy change. Whether you are working for change at the local or state level, this workshop will prepare you for success through examples of best practices, sharing of useful tools, and group exercises.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017: 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM (lunch included)*

* Snow date: Wednesday, March 15, 2017: 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

Location: Foundation for Healthy Communities, Concord, NH 

7. “Collaboration Multiplier:

Building Effective Partnerships for Catalyzing Change” 

Presented by: Sandra Viera, MPA, Program Manager, Prevention Institute and Maureen Sliva, MPH, Associate Program Manager, Prevention Institute

Designed for individuals looking to leverage partnerships and expertise among the community, this 1½ day workshop will identify specific opportunities for partnership and collaboration with multiple sectors to advance primary prevention approaches and strategies. Through community case studies, facilitated discussion, and interactive activities using Prevention Institute’s Developing Effective Coalitions: An Eight Step Guide and Collaboration Multiplier frameworks, participants will learn how to: build buy-in for shared work, make the best use of people’s time and collective efforts, develop action-oriented joint strategies, and sustain effective collaborations over time.

Thursday, April 27, 2017: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM & 
Friday, April 28, 2017: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM (lunch included)
Location: Foundation for Healthy Communities, Concord, NH 

Cancellation Policy:

We understand things happen and sometimes you need to cancel. If you need to cancel:
-- up to 48 hours before the program may receive a full refund.
-- 24-48 hours prior to the program registration fees are non-refundable but you will receive a credit towards another workshop.
-- Day of program cancellations and no shows forfeit their registration fees.
If you have any questions about this policy, please call Beth Gustafson Wheeler at 603-415-4278 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


The Grind Rail Trail Café attracts customers with healthy food and award-winning coffee

November 1, 2016 - Melanie Davis and Carmel Shea are both active users of the Derry Rail Trail. A few years ago, after a bike ride, they noticed there were no real options to relax, grab some healthy food, or just hang out with friends over a coffee near the trail.

Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, CEO of Global Policy Solutions (GPS), a Washington, DC-based policy firm,will deliver the keynote address at the upcoming Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL NH) conference, “Creating a Culture of Health”

Each month, representatives from 21 employers in Merrimack and Sullivan counties meet as part of the Employer Network Wellness Roundtable to support employee wellness in the region. The meetings feature a different expert each month speaking on a variety of topics related to workplace wellness.

Receive up to $5,000 per school for seed money for initial efforts. Ideas range from bicycle and pedestrian safety programs; incentive prizes such as helmets, pedometers, and water bottles for participating youngsters; healthy snacks for children and volunteers; and costs for publicizing an event.



We are pleased to announce that we have enlisted Erin Allgood, with Allgood Eats Local, who will serve as a consultant to provide support with HEAL healthy eating strategies. She will conduct an inventory of healthy eating/food systems activities across the HEAL community network to identify priorities, existing resources, and gaps that need addressing.

BERLIN - Two high-tech commercial greenhouses expected to produce 15 million heads of lettuce and eight million pounds of tomatoes a year were approved unanimously by the Berlin Planning Board.

From greenhouse to table in one day.



Kearsarge Regional School District is hosting a community movie screening of "The Kids Menu" followed by a panel discussion on April 5th. Learn what their school district is doing to harness the power of produce and how you can ensure your child is eating healthy! Download the flyer. This is a Wellness Connection at New London Hospital partner collaboration to raise awareness around childhood obesity and the impact of community / school initiatives.

Findings of year-long project to be unveiled at community-wide event. Featured Speakers include Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess; Bike-Walk Alliance of NH Executive Director, Tim Blagden; and Concord City Engineer, Ed Roberge. The event is free and open to the public.

During the fall of 2016, an assessment was conducted of healthy food access activities and initiatives across the statewide HEAL Community Network. The aim was to identify opportunities to better integrate and elevate food-systems work throughout the network. 

Bringing together knowledge and resources to address cancer statewide.

Partnerships in Health Care
Enhancing the Cancer Survivorship Experience

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Concord, NH  

Join the meeting for student posters, annual business, award presentations, networking opportunities and more!

April 12, 2017
Concord, NH
4:00 – 7:00pm
(Student Session 3:00 – 4:00pm)



Our featured speakers will be Sara Rainer and Jennifer Rablais from the NH Disability & Public Health Project at the UNH Institute on Disability. We will also hear from Erin Allgood from Allgood Eats Local as she presents the results from the HEAL Nutrition and Healthy Food Access Survey. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you plan to attend.



The NH Food Alliance is now seeking people to join one of five Action Teams (Education, Market Development, Food Access, Land Resources, and Fisheries) that will coordinate implementation of these specific actions and advance the Enterprise Viability Initiative (EVI).


NHBR: Our director, Terry Johnson, writes about how communities with more active opportunities can boost the NH Economy.




Our featured speaker will be Melissa Bernardin, Campaign Coordinator, Voices for Healthy Kids, American Heart Association. Melissa Bernardin will present the work being unfolded in NH and outline the ways that you, your partners, and the residents in your community can become involved and add your voice! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you plan to attend.



In 2016, the Enterprise Viability Working Group identified specific, priority actions for the Alliance to collaborate on as a network. They are now seeking people to join one of five Action Teams (Education, Market Development, Food Access, Land Resources, and Fisheries) that will coordinate implementation of these specific actions and advance the Enterprise Viability Initiative (EVI). 


WMUR: The Southern section of the Granite State Rail Trail will stretch over 23 miles from the Methuen border to the existing Riverwalk in Manchester. Right now, the longest paved section runs 8.6 miles from Salem to Hood Park in Derry. The following is a breakdown of each NH town, and where they stand with their rail trail projects.



Town selectman recently passed a “Complete Streets” policy in Hinsdale to improve its roadways. 

Hinsdale is the fourth town in the Monadnock Region to adopt a Complete Streets policy; Keene, Swanzey and Troy also have Complete Streets policies in place.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is inviting rural communities to apply for planning assistance to develop strategies that help grow the economy and revitalize downtown neighborhoods. Thirty or more communities will be selected for assistance through a competitive process.

Pictured L to R: Terry Johnson, Director, HEAL NH; Mary DeVeau, Chair, Foundation for Healthy Communities Board of Trustees; Benjamin Frost, Director, Legal & Public Affairs, NH Housing Finance Authority; and Shawn LaFrance, Executive Director, Foundation for Healthy Communities.The Foundation for Healthy Communities recently honored Benjamin Frost, Director of Legal and Public Affairs at the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, with its distinguishedInnovator's Award for his support, commitment and dedication to the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL NH) initiative during the Foundation's annual meeting at the Omni Mount Washington Resort.

Over two thousand New Hampshire residents took up the challenge to be physically active at least twenty minutes each day this summer. Participants of this State-wide initiative driven by the Governor’s Council on Physical Activity & Health received a Passport to track their daily activity and gain free entry into six State Parks for daily use.

America Walks and the Every Body Walk! Collaborative are excited to announce the second year of Micro Grant Funding. This program will award grantees up to $1,500.00 for projects related to increasing walking and walkability. Funded projects will increase walking and benefits of walkability in communities.

The Board of Directors of the Bike-Walk Alliance of New Hampshire (BWANH) announces that Executive Director Tim Blagden will transition from his staff position to volunteer chair of the BWANH Policy Committee. HEAL partners with BWANH and Transport NH to lead the New Hampshire Complete Streets Coalition.

Titled "Evaluating Community Change", this workshop is designed for individuals looking how to measure the collective work of a coalition and its partners.



Congratulations Manchester for winning the 2016 Culture of Health Prize! They are being honored for their efforts to ensure all residents have the opportunity to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Manchester is just one of 7 other cities and towns from across the country to win this coveted award out of over 200 applicants.

Over 100 planners and elected officials took part in a series of regional Complete Streets events over the summer. Participants learned how Complete Streets can benefit New Hampshire communities and help our state address pressing economic and demographic issues.

Concord Monitor, 8/12/16: The effort to build a paved riverside trail across Concord for bikers and pedestrians has seen recent breakthroughs. The Merrimack River Greenway Trail’s proponents received what they saw as an important backing this week from the city council, hopefully boosting their chances to win an $800,000 federal grant this winter. 



The Kearsarge Chronicle interviewed Catherine Bardier, Director of Wellness and Community Health at New London Hospital. Catherine discusses the third year of the Wellness Connections project at New London Hospital. Three main priorities of their strategic plan being:

  1. Focus on awareness of healthy behaviors and activities
  2. Develop an employer network to focus specifically on workplace wellness
  3. Work with partner organizations within the coalition on collaborative efforts and projects in the local area

Watch the videos to see what initiatives and projects are in the works with the Wellness Connections at New London Hospital:

Part 1

CONCORD, NH — Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) NH, one of New Hampshire's leading organizations supporting healthy community initiatives, will update New Hampshire state representatives and senators on March 6, 2013, from 7:30-9 a.m. at the State House Dining Room in Concord.

HEAL NH gathered leaders from around the state to discuss "Creating a Culture of Health" at this year's conference on October 12th at Church Landing in Meredith.

Presentations are now available to download.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize honors communities that are making great strides in their journey toward better health.

Winning communities will each receive a $25,000 cash prize and have their success stories celebrated nationally.

Apply for the 2017 Culture of Health Prize

CONCORD – The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation has awarded a $75,000 grant to the Foundation for Healthy Communities for sustainability of the NH CATCH Kids Club Project. CATCH is a successful afterschool physical activity and nutrition curriculum that FHC has spread to 109 sites in NH.

The Obama Administration just announced four final rules that implement important provisions of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) building on the progress schools across the country have already made in the improved nutritional quality of meals served in schools. 

Afterschool programs to set a NH state record for the most sites playing CATCH Kids Club games simultaneously. The CATCH Kids Club Day record-setting event is on November 7th from 3:00pm – 5:00pm. Participating kids will be exercising to celebrate healthy kids in the granite state!

Promoting nutrition education, access to local food and student gardens in city schools, the Nashua Farm to School project takes another step toward setting final objectives. Nashua was one of three “Beacon Communities” in NH, selected to pilot a Farm to School consortium program over the next two years.

Read more at Nashua Telegraph

Five sites across the state have been chosen to receive curriculum, equipment, training and support from the Foundation for Healthy Communities this summer to incorporate the CATCH Kids Club program into their summer camp physical activity routine. 

The City of Lebanon is taking the next step in providing families with playgrounds and play spaces that are specifically designed for children ages 0 - 5. With support from the HNH Foundation, "Lebanon Plays" continues the work of "Safe Routes to Play" which seeks to improve the safety and ease of biking and walking to recreational areas for young children and their families. 

Read more at HNH Foundation

The updated 2012 New Hampshire Livable Walkable Communities Toolkit has been prepared for use statewide.Creating more livable and walkable communities is an important factor in improving health, social and economic well-being in New Hampshire.

Nutritious free meals are available for children and teens 18 and younger at many locations throughout the nation throughout the summer while school is out of session - including many in New Hampshire and neighboring Maine and Vermont.

Click here to use the USDA mapping tool to find a site near you.

Walk NH Kicks off June 1st with an inter-generational Wellness Walk from White Park to the Statehouse in Concord where First Lady, Susan Lynch will read the official proclamation celebrating the week-long event.

Residents in Franklin can now get a free ride to the farmer's market! A grant from Franklin Savings Bank and a partnership with the Belknap-Merrimack County Community Action Program allowed the bus route to be offered this year - increasing access to fresh foods for all.

Read more at Concord Monitor

HEAL NH will provide funding, training and other resources to four New Hampshire cities and towns. The grants were awarded to help communities identify and implement municipal strategies.





Recently, Melissa Groves at the NH Food Alliance sat down with HEAL Director, Terry Johnson, to discuss one of HEAL’s recent success stories in Berlin titled "Berlin, NH HEAL Community Garden - Success in Collaboration"

Read more at the NH Food Alliance Blog

Terry Johnson, Director, HEAL NH and cancer survivor, speaks about the importance of physical activity in survivorship at the New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration (NH CCC) Annual Conference on March 21 in Concord.

How do all people get the same opportunities to be healthy? HEAL NH Welcomes Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, President and CEO of Global Policy Solutions as this year's keynote. As "activists on the ground" participants will learn steps to advocate for and support changes in policies, systems and environments that provide equitable opportunities for everyone to live a healthy life.

The second HEAL ED'ie award will be given this year to a school in NH that is outstanding in creating an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity opportunities and is achieving positive results for students and staff...


A fun and creative way to safely cross the street! Plan4Health Nashua partnered with Positive Street Art to install the first crosswalk art in the city. Artist Manny Ramirez, co-founder of Positive Street Art, designed the crosswalk template to include baseball bats and balls. 

HEAL is seeking applications from NH municipalities (cities and towns) that are committed to developing local solutions for improving access to affordable, healthy foods and opportunities for active living...


The Tri-State Learning Collaborative on Aging is pleased to present some exciting webinar-based learning opportunities! 

What’s it like to age in your community? How do you know, if you don’t ask?

Terry Johnson Appears as Guest on NHPTV Series about Aging in New Hampshire

CONCORD, NH - Terry Johnson, Director of the Healthy Eating Active Living Campaign in New Hampshire (HEAL NH), will provide insights on how we can eat healthier and stay physically active as we age. Mr. Johnson will be one of two guests in the debut episode of New Hampshire Public Television's (NHPTV) series "Changing Aging in the Granite State."

Visit our News Section to watch the 26 minute video: HEAL NH Director Provides Insights on Staying Healthy and Active As We Age

Mr. Johnson works with organizations throughout the Granite State to support environments that provide residents with equitable access to healthy foods and physical activity.

Titled "Embracing a Culture of Wellness", the summit on June 9th will be an energizing day filled with opportunities to connect with and learn from others about health in the North Country.

HEAL Offers Support to Programs Implementing NAP SACC

CONCORD, NH -- With one in three low-income New Hampshire preschoolers either overweight or obese (NH Obesity Data Book), several child care programs are adopting policies to serve healthier meals and snacks and to increase physical activity for the children in their programs.

The Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health is proud to announce that registration for the 2016 90 Day Challenge is officially open! Once you register, you’ll receive the 90 Day Challenge Passport in an email to print and keep track of each day you get at least 20 minutes of physical activity.

Community Leaders Convene To Promote Healthy People in Healthy Places

CONCORD, NH -- The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL NH) annual conference "Effective Leadership for Healthy People in Healthy Places," was held on September 22nd in Meredith, New Hampshire. The conference attracted over 130 attendees interested in leadership, community engagement and advocacy strategies to create healthier, more equitable community environments in New Hampshire.

Plan4Health Nashua illustrates how community planning and public health have common ground when promoting policies that ensure safe and equitable access to physical activity and healthy eating. The project has also demonstrated how community members from all sectors can work together.

Teachers Find More Physical Activity In The Classroom Helps Keep Students Engaged

movement breaks sm6.3.2011
CONCORD, NH -- First Lady Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move!' campaign to fight childhood obesity continues to make news with celebrities like Beyonce helping to get kids more physically active. But here in New Hampshire many schools have kids on the move in the classroom, as well, going beyond physical education classes to bringing more movement into the curriculum. Several schools from the Laconia School District, for example, have added 'Movement Breaks' into the classroom. These two minute breaks throughout the school day are incorporated into math, reading, and other curricula.

Anyone involved in intiatives, projects, or coalitions focused on community health planning, promotion or education are our target audience for our June 2nd training - join us! Learn the Community Readiness Model to maximize impact in your community.


Organizations Embrace Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Program That Makes Nutrition and Physical Activity Fun for Kids

CONCORD --Will kids give up fast food and video games? Probably not entirely, but the CATCH (Coordinated Approach To Child Health) Kids Club program makes healthy food and physical activity fun for New Hampshire children, grades K-5. The CATCH Kids Club, funded by Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, can be found at after-school and community recreation programs run by organizations throughout the state, including Penacook Community Center, Manchester YMCA, Gilford Summer Program, Keene Parks and Recreation, and Concord Boys and Girls Club.

This two-day workshop on May 19th & 20th will help you develop skills and strategies to more effectively and efficiently facilitate work groups, community groups, coalitions, and collaborations. Register online today! 

The City of Manchester, NH has been chosen as a finalist for the fourth annual RWJF Culture of Health Prize given by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

CONCORD --The first Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) ED'ie award will be given this year to a school in New Hampshire that is outstanding in creating an environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity opportunities and is achieving positive results for students and staff. The health of students is important to schools and a growing body of research indicates a positive association between school-based physical activity and academic performance.

Plan4Health Nashua is hosting a training to introduce key findings from their project on March 24th. Attend to learn about how Nashua is working to make the streets friendlier for walking and biking, learn about complete streets policies, and discover a new tool called the Complete Streets Guide.

When Colebrook discovered it needed major infrastructure improvements to the water and sewer system in the Main Street area, it decided to take a Complete Streets approach to the project.

This series is designed to strengthen skill and leadership capacity for creating partnerships, implementing policy, and changing systems so NH communities have the opportunity for “healthy people in healthy places.” Anyone involved in initiatives, projects, or coalitions focused on community health planning, promotion, or education is invited to attend.

Over a year ago, a partnership formed in Nashua between public health and planning to advance street design that supports health by providing safer and easier ways to get around for pedestrians and bicyclists. 

Five New Hampshire municipalities have officially adopted Complete Streets policies or resolutions—Portsmouth, Concord, Dover, Keene, Swanzey—while others are in the process.

The accomplishments of four community grant projects from Ashland, Berlin, Laconia and Nashua are highlighted in our newly published case study documents. Learn about the impact HEAL and our partners have in the state of New Hampshire.



In 2014, HEAL NH formed the Active Recreation Workgroup pulling together a variety of partners across NH dedicated to increasing access to places to play and recreate for NH residents. Learn their strategies and accomplishments to date.

The first 50 early childcare centers to sign up and attend the Sunbeatables™ curriculum training at the Penacook Community Center will be offered a free curriculum toolkit.

In 2014, HEAL NH formed the Active Recreation Workgroup pulling together a variety of partners across NH dedicated to increasing access to places to play and recreate for NH residents. Learn their strategies and accomplishments to date.

Plan4Health Nashua recently developed a mini-webinar to share with other communities that may be interested in developing Complete Streets guidelines.


“I knew it would be hard, but I didn’t know it would be THIS hard.”

How often have we said this in the middle of a difficult time? The winter brings with it harsh circumstances especially for those with food insecurity who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Did you know that in addition to supplying food to 400 agencies state wide, the NH Food Bank offers SNAP/Food Stamps application assistance through their dedicated phone line so that people don’t have to navigate the application alone?

For those who may be eligible, this is great news. SNAP Outreach is just one of the many ways that the NH Food Bank supports New Hampshire’s most vulnerable populations year-round.

Sadly, one in five individuals eligible for Food Stamps are not utilizing the program because of myths they believe about eligibility, which is why SNAP education is so essential. If you know someone who would like more information about SNAP benefits, please have them call the SNAP Outreach line at 603- 669-9725 x 124. They are here to help end hunger – that’s what they do.

Happy 2016!

~This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., SNAP Outreach Coordinator

In October, the town of Swanzey became the fourth community in New Hampshire to adopt a Complete Streets policy. This small town of 7,300 is being held up as a model for other communities who are striving to provide planning guidelines that support roads designed for all.

NHPR, Initial results of the Safe Routes to School Program from one Keene elementary school show that the percentage of students who walked to school increased from 11 percent to 26 percent in the five years since the program started. 

Reflecting back on 2015, we wanted to share a visual slideshow featuring our New Hampshire partners and their successes advancing the Healthy People Healthy Places Plan. Thank you to all of our partners - we wish you a happy 2016! 

NHBR: The town of Swanzey is the latest New Hampshire community to adopt a “Complete Streets” policy — a guide for developers, town planners and the public works department to follow when planning street renovations, changes and improvements. By Jeff Feingold

On November 4, members of the YMCA of Greater Nashua provided valuable feedback about the research being conducted by the Nashua Regional Planning Commission on how ‘friendly’ Nashua streets are for walking and bicycling.

For the New Hampshire assessment, NHDOT selected a section of Elm Street in downtown Manchester to identify barriers and opportunities to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety and access.

Last month, the Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC), comprised of a network of 165 community stakeholder and 62 organizations, released the region’s first Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP), a comprehensive public health document with strategies, activities, and solutions focused on the health of Stafford County residents.

Ambassadors will work at the sector, state, regional and national levels to improve the food served in health care facilities, increase access to healthy foods, and support the New England food economy.



The Partnership for Public Health in collaboration with the Lakes and Franklin Healthy Eating Active Living Coalitions (HEAL) was awarded $50,000 to increase access to fresh, locally grown produce and educational materials to low-income families in the Winnipesaukee region.

The Somersworth Farmers Market wrapped up its first season on Thursday, September 24 and met its goal of improving access to fresh produce and reducing disparities to accessing healthy food.


Members of the Plan4Health Nashua coalition met on October 19 to discuss efforts to support Complete Streets in Nashua. The day began on the steps of Nashua’s City Hall when 18 community members from a wide range of organizations met with Mayor Donnalee Lozeau to discuss the City’s efforts to make the streets safer and more accessible for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Did you know? Fourth graders and their families nationwide now have free access to all federally managed lands and waters - including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries. Visit the Every Kid in a Park website for more information!


We're excited our HEAL community, Lakes Region HEAL through the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health, Inc. in Laconia was awarded $50,000 to create a pop-up farmer's market!

Please excuse our experience, we're currently in the process of reorganizing our website to align our resources with the Healthy People Healthy Places Plan objectives. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please contact us if you have any questions or need assistance finding anything.

The Plan4Health Nashua project is bringing the City of Nashua to the forefront as a leader in New Hampshire in advancing Complete Streets at the municipal level. The coalition developed an informational video to highlight their project. 

The Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) has been “testing” the City’s streets for bicycle-friendliness over the past few months as part of the Plan4Health Nashua complete streets project.

This spring, Nashua officially endorsed the Plan4Health Nashua program which focuses on developing Complete Street guidelines that support equitable access to safe, healthy multi-modal transportation.

ReThink Health is working with Healthy Monadnock to help achieve the local initiative’s goal for the Monadnock Region to become the nation’s healthiest community by 2020.

July 7, 2015: Many communities in New Hampshire currently have shared use or joint use agreements for facilities including playgrounds, fields, gyms and other areas that may be used by the community.  

On October 1, 2015, the HEAL NH conference drew in approximately 150 to discuss the theme, "Leadership for Policy and System Change". Bill Purcell, Former Nashville Mayor and current Institute of Medicine committee chair was highlighted as the keynote speaker.

From street mapping to community outreach, Plan4Health Nashua is hitting its stride with its work to support physical activity, health, and economic growth in Nashua communities. 


People interested in getting outdoors in Vermont and New Hampshire this summer have a new online tool for learning about trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and other activities.


The Penacook Community Center was invited by CATCH Global Foundation to have a staff member participate in the CATCH Sun Safety Training pilot program in Austin Texas.  PCC already implements the CATCH physical activity, nutrition and obesity prevention curriculum across all of their classrooms and programs and is looking to expand their teachings to sun safety.

The interview with directors from NH Kids Count, HEAL NH and the WIC Program looks at why some kids don’t get enough healthy food, the impacts on their developing brains and bodies, and some efforts to address this.



Five New Hampshire professionals, representing health, planning, transportation, and economic development trekked to Nashville earlier this month to attend the Action Institute for Walking and Walkability. All have a long history of collaborating to create more livable and walkable communities in NH.

The New Hampshire Food Bank will receive $240,000 and the NH Nutrition Incentives Network will match another $240,000 over three years to scale up nutrition incentives for SNAP participants at NH Farmers' Markets.



Community Garden Grants will help increase capacity of community and teaching gardens and improve access to fresh, local food for low-income families. 

Three community organizations were selected from a competitive pool of applicants for funding of these programs: Kearsarge Regional High School’s (KRHS) Take the Extra Step, New London Outing Club’s Upgraded Yoga and the Newport Food Pantry’s Expanded Weekend School Backpacks.

The Keene Sentinel and Healthy Monadnock 2020 will collaborate on a 12-week program aimed at helping local people make measurable improvements in their health. Participants are tackling personal goals to improve their overall health.

Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) NH has released its HEAL/Healthy People Healthy Places Plan Outcomes which includes key accomplishments of network partners in policy, systems, and environmental changes between 2009 and 2014 in the areas of active transportation, recreation, and healthy food. The report also includes the progress made on 2014-2019 target outcomes.

Overall, from 2009 through 2014 the HEAL NH Community Network has leveraged over $3 million towards local HEAL Community and Active Transportation grantees. These HEAL partners are implementing strategies to improve equitable access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities in geographic areas encompassing over 850,000 NH residents (or 63% of the population).

Policy Highlights:

  • HEAL's Active Living Coordinator, Nik Coates, is the past chair and a current member of the NHDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Advisory Committee.  This committee works to advance policies and implement strategies that support active transportation in NH.
  • NH Farm to Plate law enacted which officially announces that local agriculture and fishing are vital interests to the state and future legislation.

Environmental Highlights:

  • HEAL Walkability Bikability Assessment released and is currently being used by 3 HEAL communities to create environments more supportive of active lifestyles.
  • Healthy People Healthy Places Active Recreation committee is conducting a recreation inventory to identify opportunities and challenges to accessing recreation in NH's highest need communities. 
  • NH Department of Health and Human Services first Municipal Survey is completed to better understand municipal environments as they relate to HEAL.

Systems Highlights:


  • HEAL principles adopted in Granite State Future plans.
  • HEAL participates in Food Solutions New England Summit.

April 7-9, 2015. Hosted by UMass Amherst, it is a first-year conference that will bring together leaders from the Northeast who are working to get more local and regional food into schools, colleges, health care and other institutions.

Use this dashboard feature to learn about policy, systems and environmental changes that HEAL has enacted or has underway through our current projects.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) announces 12 New Hampshire communities have an opportunity to improve their pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure through the federally funded Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).

Chemicals used as synthetic flame retardants that are found in common household items such as couches, carpet padding, and electronics have been found to cause metabolic and liver problems that can lead to insulin resistance, which is a major cause of obesity, according to new research from the University of New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) announces 12 New Hampshire communities have an opportunity to improve their pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure through the federally funded Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP).
12 Community Projects Totaling $5.4 Million

Monadnock Menus is hosting an annual meeting to develop their program on Wednesday, January 28th. Its purpose is to provide schools and other institutions throughout Cheshire County and the western Monadnock Region with easy access to local foods grown and made in the region. 

One of our many projects is collecting information and resources on Joint Use Agreements (JUA).  We will then make these resources available for communities, organizations, and other interested in increasing access to recreation opportunities through JUA's.

HEAL's communications efforts will continue to help support the work being accomplished by HEAL and its partners at the community and state levels in several ways. 

For the first time in its history, HEAL has an Active Living Coordinator which has helped our active transportation work take off. Our work continues to help communities plan and implement bicycle and walking transportation efforts.  

For the first time in its history, HEAL has an Active Living Coordinator which has helped our active transportation work take off. Nik Coates, formerly a regional planner who specialized in bicycle and pedestrian planning with communities, started at HEAL in December 2013 and it immediately established our expanding active transportation program.

The HEAL team is excited about the prospects 2015 holds for HEAL NH and its partners to build on the six-year foundation of collaborative efforts that began with the launch of the 2008 Healthy Eating Active Living Action Plan for New Hampshire. We now have a new roadmap - the five-year Healthy People Healthy Places Plan - and we are already off and running.

Next Meeting is Thursday December 3rd. Join us for HEAL updates and networking.

Media Release: This new initiative is called the Harvard Pilgrim Healthy Food Fund. The fund will support nonprofit organizations throughout Harvard Pilgrim’s service areas that make fresh (and often local) food easier to find and buy.

Media Release: The HNH Foundation awarded $720,924 in grants during its 2014 program year. The awards benefitted 24 health-related initiatives and projects at non-profit and community organizations across the state.

Dartmouth study verifies fruit and vegetable consumption is better when kids eat at school, fries don’t count. The fruits and vegetables provided at school deliver an important dietary boost to low income adolescents. 

The HEAL “ED”ies recognizes an outstanding school in New Hampshire that is creating a healthier environment that supports healthy eating and physical activity and is achieving positive results for students and staff. Applications are due January 9, 2015.

SentinelSource.com: A recently released study by the N.H. Department of Health and Human Services shows that rates of childhood obesity have declined in the Monadnock Region and that Cheshire County has one of the lowest rates of childhood obesity in the state.

Beverage companies spent $866 million to advertise unhealthy drinks in 2013, and children and teens remained key target audiences for that advertising, according to a new report released Nov. 19 by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

CONCORD N.H. - In addition to donating the bicycles, Recycled Cycles’ mechanics helped the youth with basic repairs and adjustments to their existing bicycles.  All of the youth who received a donated bicycle also received a helmet.  

Researchers charted bike commuting rates across the Minneapolis area, finding, not surprisingly, that the biggest increases happened near the biggest investments in safe, comfortable bike infrastructure.

The statewide report demonstrates progress made in obesity prevention and oral health among third graders across the state.

With more than 1,000 bikes fixed and sold in the year and a half since the program began and hundreds more in the warehouse, Wallace and Crow have seen bikes in all conditions come through the door. Some are just about brand new and in need of a tune up, while others require a little more TLC.

Thank you for attending our 2014 Conference on October 16, 2014.  All presentations and handouts are now available for download, including a summary of the vision developed for different regions in NH - created by conference participants.

Advocacy Advance will award $30,000 total—3 grants of $10,000 each—to organizations that are pushing forward on some of the most important areas of bicycling and walking advocacy investments. Due Oct. 17. 

US DOT aims to reduce the number of pedestrian and bicyclist injuries and fatalities. The campaign will help communities build streets that are safer for people walking, bicycling, and taking public transportation.

CONCORD (AP) – Youth soccer coaches in New Hampshire are getting coupon booklets for discounts on fruits and vegetables to share with their teams as part of a program emphasizing healthier snack options.

The Wellness Connection at New London Hospital was honored at the NHHA’s annual meeting when it was named recipient of the HEAL NH Award for promoting active living and healthy eating.

HEAL NH will hold this training titled "How to Make Local Projects Safer and More Accessible for Pedestrians and Bicyclists" to local municipal volunteers, planners, public works officials, engineers, public health advocates and others.

Register Today! The HEAL Conference serves as a gathering to celebrate, learn, and engage with people in New Hampshire working to promote and support improved access to healthy foods and safe places to play and be active. With this meeting we will celebrate the progress of NH communities, introduce NH’s new Healthy People Healthy Places Plan, and strengthen and forge new partnerships to further advance the work.

Fastcoexist.com: Investing in a network of fully separated bike lanes could save cities huge sums in the long-term. But too little investment in wimpy infrastructure could actually decrease enthusiasm for cycling.

Concord Monitor: Under a new initiative, the food pantry is turning to local farmers and gardeners in the hopes they will donate their surplus fruit, vegetables or produce.

NHPR: It’s the height of the harvest season, and New Hampshire’s farmers continue to look for ways to make the business of small farming profitable in an age of industrial agriculture.   On the Seacoast, one group of farmers is using technology and cooperation to expand beyond the farmers market.

Nashua Telegraph: The hobbyist farmers at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua are busy harvesting vegetables in their new raised garden beds, courtesy of efforts from Fidelity Investments, that provide benefits to the club’s kids.

WMUR: Farmers' markets and farm stands have seen "a phenomenal increase in business," this summer, said Gail McWilliam Jellie, director of the state division of agricultural development.

8/4/2014 - A new mural has surfaced on the Heritage Rail Trail in Nashua this week.  It's a stunning image of a kayaker crashing through the waves.  

Thanks to HEAL funding, along with other financial and volunteer support from the neighborhood and the artistic talents of Positive Street Art, Nashua has yet another interesting spot for the community to enjoy as they exercise along the trail.


A rail trail bridge, two recycled bicycle programs, and a bicycle rack program are the four applications funded for the Central New Hampshire Bicycling Coalition’s first-ever Community Bicycle Grant Program.

Registration is now open for the HEAL NH fall conference. Early bird registration is available through September at a reduced rate of $40. After that, the registration fee will increase to $50. A student rate is available at $25.

People who live near safe, high-quality biking and walking infrastructure tend to get more exercise than people who don’t, according to a study published last week in the American Journal of Public Health.

The New Hampshire Department of Transportation announces the opening of a competitive selection round for the federally funded Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) projects created by MAP-21. Letter of Intent due August 6th.

Concord Monitor: In Boscawen, N.H., a feasibility study will look at the prospect of a community kitchen to serve farmers, bakers and agricultural entrepreneurs in Merrimack County and the Kearsarge region.

Concord Monitor: The state Department of Transportation may soon turn to a popular fitness app in an effort to improve the biking experience in New Hampshire.

NY Times: The School Nutrition Association has done an about-face and is leading a lobbying campaign to allow schools to opt out of the very rules it helped to create, saying that the regulations are too costly for schools.

Save the date for our upcoming conference on October 16th at Church Landing in Meredith, NH. Click here for more information.

Visualize Nashua, the Greater Nashua YMCA, and the Community Health Improvement Plan Obesity workgroup posted signs which encourage both visitors and residents alike to discover the great assets which exist in the Tree Streets Neighborhood. 

Collaborative report imagines that region can produce at least 50 percent of clean, just, fair and accessible food for all New Englanders by 2060.

Nashua Telegraph: Coming soon in Nashua - signs designed to provide people traveling on foot some vital information, such as how much time it will take to stroll to the riverfront, and also to draw attention to a part of the city that often gets overlooked.

Concord, N.H. – On Friday, May 30, 2014 the Friends of the Northern Rail Trail in Merrimack County received an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Governor’s Council on Physical Activity and Health for promoting healthy lifestyles.  

Union Leader: Manchester bikers, unite. No, I am not talking to the motorcyclists with the obnoxiously loud exhaust systems. I am encouraging the nice, quiet, respectful bicyclists who just want to be able to pedal to work, or the store, or for fun, without being yelled at by motorists to “get on the sidewalk.”

A new bike lane is coming to Concord. The Central New Hampshire Bicycle Coalition has given $17,000 to the city to stripe more than 5 miles of a bike lane on Route 3.

Sixteen states have laws that fully meet at least one provision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s updated nutrition standards for school snacks and drinks, according to a new study published in Childhood Obesity.

The New Hampshire Nurses Association invites the community to their launch of the new HealthyNurseTM Initiative with a fun, FREE, family-friendly fresh air event - June 21, Saint Anselm College.

HEAL NH is finding overwhelming success in our Active Transportation Training Series.  We held two bike and ped planning training sessions in April and May that have been enormously successful.  All are welcome to the third installment of the training series on June 3rd. Note the new location - we've outgrown our conference rooms!

HEAL NH held its first-ever Active Transportation Training Series session on April 22 and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. So it is with great enthusiasm that HEAL NH staff is offering the second installment of the training series on May 13. All are welcome.

Cornell Study shows kids at schools with gardens were moderately physically active at school for 10 more minutes a week than before their schools had gardens.

Doctors at the Boston Medical Center can now prescribe $5 bike memberships to their low-income patients with a Prescribe-A-Bike prescription.  Boston is the first American city to launch a service linking medicine to public bike shares.

Coos County Family Health Services will begin recruiting families in April for a 1-year demonstration program to combat childhood obesity and improve wellness in the Berlin-Gorham area 

Last week, Claremont received a copy of a letter stating that motorized vehicles are not permitted on the city’s portion of the rail trail because federal money was used to build the trail on the former railroad bed in the 1990s. 


Dozens of ready and willing walkers gathered at Nashua City Hall just before noon Friday to participate in the final event of Nashua’s observance of National Public Health Week this year. The walkers and the knot of bicyclists who joined them came together next to a white tent at the Heritage Rail Trail.

The community center has a number of healthy eating and active living initiatives in place, including a new natural playground and the Early Sprouts seed-to-table gardening curriculum. They also plan to add raised gardens and a mural depicting the center’s HEAL philosophy.

Rockingham County once again ranks as the healthiest county in New Hampshire, with Coos County at the opposite end of the spectrum as the least healthy, according to the fifth annual County Health Rankings.

Bring your walking shoes or bicycle to the start of the Heritage Rail Trail on the south side of City Hall at noon on Friday April 11th.  Join leaders from the Nashua Regional Planning Commission and Goodale’s Bike Shop on a 2.6 mile walk of the trail or a longer bike loop.

Farmers markets across the state are working to educate SNAP beneficiaries about using their benefits at the market, as well as teaching them about “market match” programs that allow them to get double or even triple the benefits when they shop at farmers markets.

The primary purpose of the Active Transportation Program is to provide participants with essential skills in planning and implementing bicycle and walking transportation efforts in their communities. There are three scheduled Active Transportation sessions in 2014.  All interested are encouraged to attend.

Fuel Up to Play 60—the nation’s largest in-school wellness program—along with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign and Dean Foods, launched the It Starts With School Breakfast campaign in New Hampshire with a celebration at Dr. Crisp Elementary School in Nashua.

HEAL Director, Terry Johnson, along with colleagues in the obesity prevention field discuss on NHPR's The Exchange the recent data on the drop in childhood obesity rates among preschoolers.

Children living in rural areas are about 25 percent more likely to be overweight or obese than children in urban areas, studies show. Rural communities have come up with several strategies to battle childhood obesity.

Federal health authorities on Tuesday reported a 43 percent drop in the obesity rate among 2- to 5-year-old children over the past decade, the first broad decline in an epidemic that often leads to lifelong struggles with weight and higher risks for cancer, heart disease and stroke.

Soda and other sugary drinks are popping up on city and state dockets across the nation, as lawmakers attempt to curb America’s consumption of certain beverages. Questions like: "Would you support a tax on sugar sweetened beverages, with the funds dedicated to health, nutrition, and physical activity programs?"

Are you interested in learning about federal funding to improve bicycling and walking in your community? Join in on a "Navigating MAP-21 Workshop in Concord, NH on Thursday, March 20, 2014 to learn how to unlock federal dollars for biking & walking.

The YMCA Of Greater Nashua held their first Indoor Farmers Market on Saturday, January 25th. The event hosted 30 vendors selling such projects as farm fresh eggs, homemade fudge, handcrafted jewelry, collectibles and various handmade wares.  The market raised more than $1400 to support the Y CARES Financial Assistance program.

Sixteen of the nation's leading food and beverage companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than they did in 2007, exceeding their 2015 pledge by more than 400 percent.

A workplace cafeteria used "traffic light" labeling to indicate the healthiness of food and drinks and rearranged items so that healthier, green-labeled items were more visible. Sales of healthy items jumped, and after two years, employees continued to make healthier choices.

Dining out doesn't have to be a high calorie count affair. Many restaurants do not fall under the new federal menu-labeling legislation nor does the state require them to offer healthier options, yet an initiative has begun.

More and more parents and educators are starting to "think beyond the gym walls," and come up with ways to fit in exercise before or after school. One idea is to have teachers integrate physical activity into math and reading lessons.

Jess Gerrior, member of Monadnock Farm and Community Coalition and sustainability coordinator at Franklin Pierce University, addresses the audience during the Q&A period November 17th in The Colonial Theatre after the showing of the film, “A Place at the Table.” Photo by Bill Gnade

Fast Food FACTS 2013 research report discusses how the nutritional quality of fast-food meals, and how those meals are marketed to children and teens, has improved, but more work is needed.

Thanks in part to a grant from the Foundation for Healthy Communities, the 'Jump And Sprout' kids at the Penacook Community Center Garden harvested more than 1,300 pounds of vegetables and produce this year.

Healthy Monadnock 2020 recently honored individuals, groups and schools for their work in contributing to a healthier community.

After three decades of increases, adult obesity rates remained level in every state except for one, Arkansas, in the past year, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2013

An amazing video posted by CHAD is one you should not miss. With features from staff, kids, and even the president and CEO, Dartmouth-Hitchcock has embraced the strength of all the children they serve.  They are all fighters and champions!

PORTSMOUTH — In a corner of Gosling Meadows — a public housing neighborhood known for police calls, not botanical gardens — two neighbors have grown a sanctuary of flower and vegetable beds. On small patches of land, boosted by their own compost, the woman are nurturing a seemingly impossible variety of homegrown foods.

The hospital was cited for promoting healthy living and active living through its focus on employee wellness, innovation in the realm of patient care, and community-level activities. Congratulations!

Concord Monitor reports that In every cafeteria across the Concord School District, students will eat meat from Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, tacos and salsa from Mitchell's Fresh in Bow, and fresh fruits and veggies from Beans and Greens in Gilford, Meadow Ledge Farm in Loudon and Autumn View Farm in Pittsfield.

In an interview on NHPR, Dr. Anna Adachi-Mejia of Dartmouth College discusses research showing contents of school vending machines are changing - less sugar, more bottled water.

On Saturday, October 5th, the Nashua Community Health Improvement Plan Partnership is hosting a city-wide event to celebrate the many exercise, fitness, and healthy nutrition opportunities available in the community.

In 2011, The OPP and RPC collaborated to assess the state of New Hampshire's obesity-related policies. Municipalities surveyed reported data on assets that promote healthful eating, physical activity and breastfeeding.  Results have been published in the CDC Journal: Preventing Chronic Disease.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on obesity among preschool children enrolled in federal health and nutrition programs shows the nation is making important progress in reducing obesity among preschool children from low-income families.

The CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard may be just what Cheshire County, New Hampshire needs to achieve its aspired status as "the healthiest community in the nation" by the year 2020.

Dr. Norman W. Crisp Elementary School is honored to be the first school in the State of New Hampshire to receive a Silver Award from the USDA's Healthier US Schools Program.

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center researchers recently studied high school vending machines in New Hampshire and Vermont to see what teens are drinking: Could we help them make healthier choices?

In Philadelphia, 680 stores participate in the Healthy Corner Store Initiative.  Juan Carlos Romano says his business is improving because of the expanded selection. “Before we had bananas and onions; that was about it. Now the store has a produce section and business has increased by 40 percent.”

Representatives from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors gathered in Washington, D.C., last week to highlight signs of progress in local and state efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic and share strategies to address this national public health challenge.

The New Hampshire Obesity Prevention Program (OPP) has released two new data briefs: Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among New Hampshire Adults and Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among New Hampshire Youth.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Highlights New "Smart Snacks in School" Standards; Will Ensure School Vending Machines, Snack Bars Include Healthy Choices

The American Medical Association decided on June 18th to recognize obesity as a disease, requiring a range of medical interventions to advance obesity treatment.

New rankings highlight communities that are safe and child-friendly. Congratulations to New Hampshire's very own Grafton County for making the top 50 list at #38.

As the Food and Drug Administration works to finalize national menu labeling regulations, a new research review from Healthy Eating Research shows most consumers want menu labeling at the point of purchase in restaurants and cafeterias.

After nearly one year of planning and several community forums, the Ashland HEAL Coalition has started to implement several projects designed to create a healthier, more vibrant community including a healthy restaurant program, improvements to the walking and biking infrastructure, and a joint use agreement with the elementary school.

LACONIA — As National Kids to Parks Day on Saturday, May 18 approaches, improvements to Wyatt Park are underway as part of the Wyatt Park-South End Community Revitalization Project. The project, supported by Lakes Region HEAL and the City of Laconia, includes extensive pans to renovate the park and immediate surroundings.

The second Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids' "State Dinner" invites parents or guardians and their children, ages 8-12, to create and submit an original lunch recipe that is healthy, affordable, and tasty. Winners will fly to the White House to taste their creations.

Across the city of Nashua, dozens of youth and local church volunteers crowded around the Police Athletic League building to revitalize and beautify the area during The Big Day of Serving national event. The beautification of the Ledge Street neighborhood was made possible through a HEAL Community Grant.

Last summer, there were 40 work sites on the pledge sheet to become healthier. Today, there are nearly 70. The pledge all of these Cheshire County companies and organizations made starting in the spring of 2012 was to be "organizational champions" as part of the Vision 2020 initiative launched by Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene to be the healthiest community in the nation by the year 2020.

The Southern California city of Baldwin Park, a working-class community, predominantly Latino, saw an 8 percent reduction in overweight children from 2005 to 2010, based on school fitness data for grades 5, 7 and 9.

Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) is seeking a consultant with Health Impact Assessment expertise to provide Health Impact Assessment training and support to NRPC staff as they conduct the two Health Impact Assessments

An initiative called Healthy Kids Out of School worked with some of the country's leading out-of-school-time organizations to create a unified set of principles around healthy eating and physical activity so that children will hear consistent, healthy messages, across out-of-school-time programs...


At work, employees are often presented with a choice between taking the stairs and taking an elevator. Choosing the stairs instead of the elevator is a quick way for your employees to add physical activity to their day. The Capitol Area Wellness Coalition began a stairway pilot program in five buildings for four employers in Concord last November.

The New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration (NH CCC) hosted its 8th Annual Conference on March 20, 2013 in Concord, NH. The event, attended by over 200 people, addressed the impact of health care reform and how it affects the delivery of cancer care.

Does our current transportation infrastructure help or hinder the development of a vibrant economy and a healthy population? Join the conversation taking place around the state April 30 through May 16, 2013.


The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Food and Nutrition Services team hopes to help employees and visitors who are time-stressed make choosing healthier food an "easy choice" using one, two or three apple icons on the nutritional labels for some of the entrees and side dishes being offered.

Unhealthy Counties Have More Than Twice the Rate of Premature Deaths Than Healthy Ones; Childhood Poverty Rates Twice As High In Unhealthy Counties

The New Orleans health department's "Fit NOLA" campaign has employed a range of sectors and civic groups, and public-private partnerships to envision a city that's among America's 10 healthiest by 2018, New Orleans' tricentennial.


The HNH Foundation recently announced a new year-long initiative designed to focus public attention on the obesity epidemic. Communities throughout the state will host public screenings of the "Challenges" segment of HBO's award-winning Weight of the Nation documentary series.

The 12-week program provides nutrition classes, exercise sessions and family events about healthy shopping and cooking. Students who successfully complete the course, receive a free one-year membership to the YMCA for everyone in their family.

Only 15% of Kids Have Parents Who Say They are Overweight, Compared with National Stats Showing that 32% of Young People are Overweight or Obese; Many Families Face Challenges in Trying to Help Children Eat Well and Be More Active

On the evening of April 8, 1999, eleven C.E.O.'s and company presidents who controlled America's largest food companies had come together for a rare, private meeting. On the agenda was one item: the emerging obesity epidemic and how to deal with it.

Six communities were awarded the RWJF Roadmaps to Health Prize in honor of their outstanding work to help people live healthier lives. Could your community apply any of these innovative policy and environmental improvements to enable people to make healthier choices?

On February 27, 2013, First Lady Michelle Obama will kick off a two day nation-wide tour celebrating the third anniversary of Let's Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. The tour will showcase progress and announce new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children.

On an annual basis, USDA awards up to $5 million in competitive grants for training, supporting operations, planning, purchasing equipment, developing school gardens, developing partnerships, and implementing farm to school programs. Grant Applications are available now!

The government for the first time is proposing broad new standards to make school snacks healthier, a move that would ban the sale of almost all candy, high-calorie sports drinks and greasy foods on campus. The rules, required under a child nutrition law passed by Congress in 2010, are an effort to combat childhood obesity.

HEAL Partner - The New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration
is pleased to invite you to register for their 8th annual conference:

Navigating Turbulent Waters:
Reducing the Burden of Cancer in Individuals and Communities

Wednesday, March 20
Concord, NH

The conference will focus on the integration of clinical and public health care, the patient navigation process, and how health reform and the changing health care system may impact the delivery of cancer care. Please share this information with others who might be interested in attending.

View the brochure and register NOW at http://nhcancerplan.org/8th-annual-meeting.html.

Read more how HEAL partners are playing a key role bridging the gap between obesity and cancer. This article does an excellent job highlighting the synergies and partnering between the NH CCC and HEAL initiatives.

Learn more about the activities of NH CCC members in their January Newsletter

HEAL Partner Spotlight: Regina Flynn, Program Manager for the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services, Obesity Prevention Program (OPP) and New Hampshire Comprehensive Cancer Collaboration (NH CCC) Primary Prevention work group member, has been bridging the gap between obesity and cancer for the past four years.

LACONIA CITIZEN — In an effort that Mayor Mike Seymour said he'd like replicated citywide, residents of the South End and the neighbors of Wyatt Park turned out Tuesday evening to begin exploring ways of breaking down barriers to healthy living and active living.



A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that included data from 20,000 preschoolers in the NH WIC program has found modest declines in obesity among 2- to 4-year-old children from low-income families, a dip that CDC researchers say may indicate that the obesity epidemic has passed its peak among this group.

The New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the Office of Energy and Planning (OEP) has released the 2013-2018 Statewide Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan (SCORP). The SCORP provides the outdoor recreation community with a proactive framework based on a strategic vision, current data, and public input, and offers recommended Priorities, Goals, and Actions.

For three years now, students across Massachusetts have been climbing on the scale while school nurses record their height and weight. It took a while to get all districts on board with this project, but now the state has the first somewhat scientific report on how many kids are overweight or obese in Massachusetts: 32 percent.

A new Roadmaps to Health Community Grant through the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will fund a project in Manchester, New Hampshire that will expand the focus of three public schools from educating students to hosting other organizations that will provide a range of social supports to children and families in those communities.

A new national study conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found modest declines in obesity among 2- to 4-year-olds from poor families, a dip that researchers say may indicate that the obesity epidemic has passed its peak among this group.

There was good news on the childhood obesity front this week for the first time in a long time. A report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showed that the rates of obesity in youngsters in some parts of the United States have dropped by small percentages. New Hampshire has always ranked relatively well in childhood obesity studies comparing state rates.

HEAL grantees and supporters gathered for a celebration of NH HEAL's first round of grant communities. The day was a testament to the outstanding work accomplished by these communities as they demonstrated the transformation HEAL work can make in the communities and organizations with whom they worked.

After decades of rising childhood obesity rates, several American cities are reporting their first declines. The trend has emerged in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as smaller places like Anchorage, Alaska, and Kearney, Neb.




Nobody said it would be easy, and company officials admit there were some "showdowns" and work-arounds to overcome, but a New Hampshire lumber company is offering a case study in taking traditional workplaces through a healthy environment evolution – from offering walking paths all the way to a property-wide tobacco ban.

WEARE - By offering students healthy choices and focusing on physical education, John Stark Regional High School is the first high school in New Hampshire to have earned an award of distinction as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's HealthierUS School Challenge.

NASHUA – Mindy Sartorelli is committed to serving fresh produce to her 7- and 8-year-old boys. She was part of a community forum in Nashua at which Tree Streets residents and local agency staff members assessed the resources for healthy living available in and around the neighborhood.

The Manchester VA Medical Center established a Veterans Free Farmers' Market pilot this summer to create a Win-Win connection for the Manchester VA Medical Center, community growers, and Veterans to support their healthy nutritional intake.

The Nashua Regional Planning Commission is joining the eight other commissions across the state to guide future changes through their Granite State Future project. Each region will update their respective regional plans based on the needs of each region, but all RPCs are coordinating their efforts to save money and share information.

To each child, it was just a hop in a hula hoop, but to a new after-school health program, it was a landmark. November 7th was Coordinated Approach to Child Health Kids Club (CKC) Day, and in celebration, the program set a state record for the number of kids playing games at once.

A generous HEAL Grant, promoting Healthy Eating, Active Living, brought the first of what is hoped to be an annual wellness fair to Ashland last week, and it was met with great enthusiasm by local residents.

From USA Today: "Active design'' is the new weapon in the fight against the national obesity crisis. Stairs, open spaces, locating office equipment away from desks are design tools used to get people moving. It is gaining popularity as more cities and companies join the fight and embrace healthy initiatives and "green'' measures.

Presentations are now available to download from our recent event: Promoting Equity, Transforming Communities and Improving Health.

This event was co-convened by HEAL, the NH Health & Equity Partnership and Granite State Future, and sponsored by the HNH Foundation.

HEAL Director, Terry Johnson, was recently featured as a guest speaker on the popular NH Public Radio show The Exchange hosted by Laura Knoy during a segment titled "Overcoming Obesity in the Granite State". 

It's official. Thorntons Ferry School has set a world record in fitness. In 2011, Thorntons Ferry School in Merrimack, was awarded the first HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Living) Award as part of the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Award Program. Since then, Thorntons Ferry School hasn't stopped moving forward.

Nashua Telegraph- Crowds stopped and stared at the surprise flash mob dancing near Town Hall at the Milford Oval on the evening of Oct. 6. The flash mob was formed by a group of Milford High School students to raise awareness for the organization Fuel Up to Play 60, founded by the NFL and the National Dairy Council. It helps kids get more involved with exercise and to play for 60 minutes a day to get active.

The American Public Health Association and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership have partnered to produce a new guide: Promoting Active Transportation: An Opportunity for Public Health. This primer is intended to give an introduction and orientation to as to why and how health should be considered in transportation planning and decision-making.

Governor John H. Lynch declared September "Childhood Obesity Awareness Month" in the state of New Hampshire. Governor Lynch made this declaration to accelerate progress in the prevention of this epidemic.

Officials at the New Hampshire Farm to School Program say the number of farmers selling produce and products to schools has tripled to 60 in the past three years. Apples and tomatoes remain the most popular items purchased by schools.

Related health care costs could climb by more than 20 percent in nine states. The number of obese adults, along with related disease rates and health care costs, are on course to increase dramatically in every state in the country over the next 20 years, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2012.

New York City's Board of Health voted Thursday, September 13th to ban the sale of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces in restaurants and other venues, in a move meant to combat obesity and encourage residents to live healthier lifestyles.

Largest declines seen among African American boys and Hispanic girls. The overall obesity rate among Philadelphia schoolchildren fell more than 4.5 percent between the 2006-07 and 2009-10 school years, according to a study published in Preventing Chronic Disease.

The New Hampshire Obesity Prevention Program has released a new data brief, Physical Activity Among New Hampshire Adults. 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 new policies governing sales of healthy food and beverages in Portland, Maine qualified the school district to receive $90,000 from Portland Public Health under its federal obesity prevention grant.

USA TODAY - When students head back to school this fall, most will be offered a smorgasbord of healthier foods in lunch lines.  Many school districts are doing major overhauls. But some have already made significant improvements in nutritional quality of meals over the last few years, and this year they're upping their game.

NY TIMES - Adolescents in states with strict laws regulating the sale of snacks and sugary drinks in public schools gained less weight over a three-year period than those living in states with no such laws, a new study has found.

The obesity epidemic in the U.S. will eventually bankrupt the nation if left unchecked, according to a Bipartisan Policy Center report titled "Lots to Lose: How America's Health and Obesity Crisis Threatens our Economic Future," that outlines recommendations for curbing the crisis. 

TIME Healthland - Initiatives like Freshmobile, designed to help improve the diet of people living in neighborhoods where quality fresh foods are hard to obtain, have been quite literally "popping up" all over the country. This summer, several temporary and mobile pop-up markets will set up shop in so-called food deserts.

Sports drinks, other sugary beverages still widely available. One in four U.S. public high school students could buy regular soda in school during the 2010-11 school year, down from more than half who could do so just four years earlier, according to a new study

Many characteristics of the manmade environment make it difficult for residents to build exercise into their day. These include cul-de-sacs that connect to nowhere, suburban enclaves that require children to bus to school across busy roads and that offer no nearby shops or services as walkable destinations, and a dearth of inviting sidewalks, shady trees, public transit and bicycle paths.  The remedy is for developers and city planners to build a world where physical activity is a part of daily life.

Many micro-businesses throughout the state are implementing effective wellness programs with very limited budgets by tapping into free and low-cost resources and selecting strategies that are appropriate and affordable. The Insurance Source in Keene, with seven employees, started focusing on healthy eating and active living for their employees six months ago.

Recent reports have found that a majority of schools still don't offer students the recommended amount of physical education. Locally, there is a focus on improving nutrition and exercise in schools from health-centered organizations including Healthy Eating Active Living N.H., and Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene's Vision 2020 program.

A third of kids in U.S. public elementary schools can buy such beverages as sports drinks and full-fat milk at school, according to a study looking at wellness policies in schools. And that's an improvement, the researchers said.

On a recent Saturday morning, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank distributed more than 15,000 pounds of fresh produce from St. Michael's Episcopal Church in Scotlandville in north Baton Rouge. "We need a grocery store in Scotlandville," said a local resident. "We don't have one, and we have to go way out to shop."

Should all U.S. children get tested for high cholesterol? Doctors are still debating that question months after a government-appointed panel recommended widespread screening that would lead to prescribing medicine for some kids. The guidelines aim to help prevent and treat conditions in children that put them at risk for later heart-related problems. At least 10 percent of U.S. children have unhealthy cholesterol levels and one-third are overweight or obese.

With new federal standards for school meals going into effect this month, and a renewed focus on the issue brought by the first lady, Michelle Obama, thousands of school chefs, food service workers and nutrition experts from around the country gathered in Denver this week at an annual conference put on by the School Nutrition Association, a nonprofit organization of school food professionals.

Most schools in the United States are not offering children the suggested amount of physical education, according to a new study. Researchers say physical education policies are still very vague and easily misinterpreted.

(Health.com) -- A five-year-old ban on the use of trans fats in New York City restaurants has sharply reduced the consumption of these unhealthy fats among fast-food customers, a study by city health officials has found. The study included fast-food chains such as McDonald's, Burger King, Subway, KFC and Pizza Hut.

Recently revised guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force acknowledge that weight loss is not easy. They recommend that clinicians screen patients for obesity, which is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or higher. Further, they say patients who meet or exceed that level should be offered or referred to "intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions" to help them lose weight.

Boston Globe - A decade after an ambitious experiment dubbed Shape Up Somerville was launched to lower obesity rates in elementary school children, the campaign has been expanded and woven into the fabric of everyday life in this diverse city of 78,000, where 52 languages are spoken in the public schools and almost two-thirds of students come from families so poor that they receive free or reduced-price school lunches.


What if kids asked moms for veggies at the dinner table because they're wacky, fun and exciting? That's the goal of Pinnacle Foods' Birds Eye brand. Birds Eye, Nickelodeon and iCarly's Jennette McCurdy Rally Moms and Kids to Get Creative with the "iCarly iCook with Birds Eye" Program

The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld the landmark federal health law, affirming its mandate that nearly all Americans carry coverage and retaining sweeping changes to the health industry. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. joined the liberals on the court in upholding the mandate, deciding the penalty for not carrying insurance is a tax and therefore falls within Congress' taxing power.

(Health.com) -- Obese children and teenagers face a slew of potential health problems as they get older, including an increased risk of diabetes, heart attacks, and certain cancers. As if that weren't enough, obesity may harm young people's long-term college and career prospects, too.

Cereal companies have improved the nutritional quality of most cereals marketed directly to children, but they also have increased advertising to children for many of their least nutritious products, according to a report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

The good people of New York City may or may not be able to buy super-size sodas next spring, but their mayor's proposal has put sugary drinks in the line of fire and sparked a conversation about whether and how they should be regulated. Published in Los Angeles Times - Health by Mary MacVean.

Updated standards for snacks, drinks sold in school likely to have positive impact, study finds.

Published: June 26, 2012
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - Childhood Obesity

Cheshire Medical Center/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Keene's Employee Wellness Program is excited to announce that the South stairwell of the hospital building is undergoing a beautiful transformation to feature a colorful, multi-level, Monadnock-themed mural.

NH: Promoting Preschool Play and Healthy Plates... Large numbers of children being cared for outside the home and because most children need to eat better and move more, child care centers are places where healthy habits can start.



New Hampshire HEAL's connection to the Regional Planning Commissions' and their pursuit of a shared vision of healthy people in healthy places is an example of convergence. When goals, communities, policies, and funding all converge, so much more can be accomplished than when all of these are struggling separately.

At its Annual Meeting on Monday, June 25, at Church Landing in Meredith, the Lakes Region Planning Commission will feature Mark Fenton, an enthusiastic, and passionate advocate for non-motorized transportation, a frequent consultant on bicycle and pedestrian community plans, and recognized authority on public health issues and the need for community, environmental, and public-policy initiatives to encourage more walking, bicycling, and transit use.

The students at Newfields Elementary School are planting lettuce, Swiss chard, beets, spinach, carrots and radishes in their school's first garden.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center has a long history of putting healthy policies in place with its employees, patients and community in mind. But the move to stop selling sugar- sweetened beverages – including soda and sports drinks – caused considerable debate on and off the Lebanon campus earlier this year.

First Lady Michelle Obama announces a new program to encourage children to participate in sports and hopes the 2012 Olympics inspires children to be active.



Viewers Without a Subscription Can Watch Episodes for Free on HBO Website and YouTube. HBO premiered the first two episodes of its four-part documentary series on America's obesity epidemic, called "The Weight of the Nation," May 14th and 15th.



Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will expand employers' ability to reward employees that participate in wellness programs and who meet health status goals, while also requiring employees who don't meet these goals to pay more for their employer-sponsored health coverage.

The Weight of the Nation conference, hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Washington, D.C., May 7–9, drew more than 1,000 advocates, researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers from all levels of government. Leaders report signs of progress, call for collaboration and more intensive efforts to address disparities.

The first day of the Weight of the Nation conference in Washington, D.C., included two significant announcements... Conference Sessions Highlight Economic Impacts of Obesity Epidemic, Private-Sector Commitment to Address It

Since first lady Michelle Obama made childhood obesity her signature project almost two years ago, the issue has had the kind of highly visible national leadership that it previously lacked. Something more ambitious is needed, public health leaders argue -- something more like the anti-tobacco movement.

National Program to Provide New Economic Opportunities for Producers Of All Kinds: USDA will be investing in farm to school programs nationwide to help eligible schools improve the health and wellbeing of their students and connect with local agricultural producers.

USDA published a rule specifying the certification process for schools to receive the six-cent per meal performance-based incentive funds. School Food Authorities found eligible will be certified to receive performance-based cash assistance for each reimbursable lunch served.


Do you know anyone who could use an extra $12 in their pocket every day?

Just by replacing a 40-mile round trip commute with a carpool trip, New Hampshire commuters can save that much—or more depending on the car they drive. A commute by bicycling, walking, taking public transportation or telecommuting can help commuters' wallets even more.

Includes $125 Million For National Healthy Food Financing Initiative (Hffi) To Expand Fresh Food Retail In Underserved Communities Across The U.S. The inclusion of HFFI is a significant win for community leaders from across the country seeking to bring healthy food and jobs to their communities.



They could have had a food fight. But a group of New Hampshire middle school students unhappy with their lunch options staged a silent protest in the cafeteria, instead. School officials said they were happy to listen— especially because the students took a mature approach...




The Souhegan School Nutrition Department in Amherst, NH has completed the installation of a new refrigerated vending machine that distributes meals and healthy snacks using student lunch accounts.

With children in some of New Jersey's poorest cities being encouraged to eat their fruits and vegetables, a Rutgers University research team will follow 1,200 kids to see how changes in how they play and what they eat can help policymakers carry out successful strategies to battle the nation's childhood obesity epidemic.

While parents may steer kids to healthier foods at home, fast food and sugary snacks are everywhere, it seems. And a San Antonio researcher has a new study to show that simply having a convenience store or fast food restaurant within walking distance is often enough to spoil good eating habits...


The New Hampshire Governor's Council on Physical Activity and Health, on behalf of Governor John Lynch, is seeking nominations of individuals and groups in New Hampshire that have accomplished outstanding achievements in promoting healthy lifestyles...



Updates improve access to fruits, veggies and reduced-fat milk without costing government or families more. A study published found that changes made in 2009 to the WIC program prompted North Philadelphia corner stores, convenience stores and bodegas to start offering healthier foods.

Michelle Obama visits PenacookCheers to getting kids up and moving! The first lady visited the Penacook Community Center to promote her national "Let's Move" campaign to increase fitness and combat childhood obesity...


First Lady Michelle Obama cited New Hampshire as a national leader in combating childhood obesity during a March 9 visit to the Penacook Community Center in Concord. "I am so very impressed and proud," Obama said...


Michelle Obama visited Penacook Community Center to highlight an example of a collaborative community effort in New Hampshire to promote health and wellness, good nutrition and physical activity. In 2009, Concord created the Capital Area Wellness Coalition, a group of people and organizations in neighboring towns working together to increase physical activity and healthy eating. The coalition includes the Chamber of Commerce, representatives from the school district, Concord Hospital, and other local leaders. Mrs. Obama was joined by New Hampshire First Lady Dr. Susan Lynch who advocates for healthy eating habits and regular exercise for New Hampshire's children and families.

Below is information about how childhood obesity prevention work is connected at national (Let's Move), state (HEAL NH), city/town (Capital Area Wellness Coalition) and neighborhood (Penacook Community Center) levels.

Nearly half of U.S. elementary school students could buy unhealthy snacks—such as cookies, cakes and baked goods—outside of school meals during the 2009–10 school year, according to a study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine...


The government's attempt to reduce childhood obesity is moving from the school cafeteria to the vending machines.The Obama administration is working on setting nutritional standards for foods that children can buy outside the cafeteria.

EXETER — When it comes to healthy eating, the Lincoln Street and Main Street schools get a "bronze."

The Exeter schools are the first recipients of the HealthierUS School Challenge put on by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The schools were presented with the award on Wednesday, and held assemblies as a kick-off for the 5-2-1-0 Steps Up Coalition.

On the second anniversary of Let's Move!, First lady Michelle Obama says there's been real progress on providing healthier eating and activity choices for our children...


A year after pledging to develop a front-of-pack label that would give its customers an easier way to identify healthier food, Walmart, the nation's largest food retailer, unveiled the "Great For You" icon at an event in Washington, D.C.

By Cameron Kittle
Nashua Telegraph

From sweet-potato souffle to turkey tacos, the food on the menu at Dr. Crisp Elementary School in Nashua isn't what most people might imagine from a school cafeteria.

A revolving menu of healthy food – with an emphasis on whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables – has earned the school a national award, given out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Healthier US School Challenge.

New Standards Will Improve the Health and Wellbeing of 32 Million Kids Nationwide. First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveiled new standards for school meals that will result in healthier meals for kids across the nation...


To help control health-care costs and increase employee health and productivity, many New Hampshire businesses are following a national trend to implement workplace wellness programs.

In Keene, several businesses, inspired by the efforts around the community-wide Vision 2020 health initiative, and supported by the Cheshire County HEAL partnership, are part of a workplace wellness pilot program that began earlier this year.

Source: Seacoast Online

EXETER -- Twelve Exeter High School seniors left their mark at the school this past Monday by helping build a community garden full of organic herbs and vegetables to be utilized within the school cafeteria.

As part of the Class of 2011's community service project, four beds were built behind the school, filled with various herbs, greens and other healthy vegetables. The project was headed by EHS's Environmental Club, Master Gardener and UNH Cooperative Extension member Margaret Theobald, and health and wellness counselor Tracey Miller (pictured left).

Workplace wellness programs are emerging in organizations throughout the state in an effort to stabilize health care costs and increase overall health and well-being of employees. The state of New Hampshire - the state's largest employer - is no exception.

In 2006, Gov. John Lynch signed "an order relative to state employee wellness," which included programs that encourage a proactive approach to the health of its employees.

Results from the National Food and Nutrition Survey Show Measurable Improvements in Dietary Behavior

After more than 25 years, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) made significant changes to the WIC food package based on guidance from the Institute of Medicine. As a result, New Hampshire women and children on the WIC program are eating healthier.

By Terry Johnson, Director of HEAL NH

Hypertherm Inc., the Hanover-based manufacturer of metal and fiber laser cutting systems, started more than 40 years ago in a two-car garage. Today, the company is one of New Hampshire's largest, employing nearly 1,300 people in 24 different countries.

Recognized as one of the best places to work in the Granite State, Hypertherm's mission includes providing for the wellbeing of its associates, communities and the environment. Consistent with its core values, Hypertherm has been at the forefront of developing an effective workplace wellness program that meets the needs of its diverse workforce for several years.

terryTerry Johnson, Director of the Healthy Eating Active Living Campaign in New Hampshire (HEAL NH), provides insights on how we can eat healthier and stay physically active as we age in an interview on NHPTV.

Getting rid of the soda machine was just a baby step when the staff of the Spaulding Youth Center, a residential educational center for kids with special needs, decided to battle childhood obesity.

By Deborah Kotz
Boston Globe

Teens, it turns out, are not that good at deciphering food labels when it comes to choosing between water and sugary beverages. Or perhaps they simply don't look at them at all, leading them to reach for a bottle of Coke at the corner deli rather than a bottle of Poland Spring.

But if they were clearly informed about how many calories were in that Coke bottle, would they be more likely to choose the water?

Environmental Approaches Improving Physical Activity Levels and Dietary Habits Are Key
Research published by the Cochrane Collaboration

Targeting children aged six to 12 with school-based programs that encourage healthy eating, physical activity and positive attitudes to body image are among a range of interventions that can help reduce levels of obesity, according to a new review of the evidence.

Ys nationwide will establish physical activity and healthy eating standards for the 700,000 children in its early childhood and afterschool programs


CHICAGO, Nov. 30, 2011 -Today, YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), the national resource office for the nation's 2,700 Ys, committed to standards that would ensure that more children have access to healthy food and physical activity in its 10,000 early childhood and afterschool programs across the country.

The New Hampshire Sustainable Communities Initiative (NH SCI) is an innovative statewide project that will enable communities to create fully-integrated, place-based, sustainable development plans. It will provide a planning structure, tools and supports that increase our state's ability to: engage communities; integrate planning across sectors; identify, share and replicate successful projects; and, implement high quality, cohesive sustainable development practices. Together these practices will enable large communities and small villages throughout the state to achieve economic vitality while safeguarding natural resources, character, rural landscapes and providing increased opportunities for healthy eating and active living that resonates with individuals and defines NH's values.

Keynote Presentation Available Online

Keynote speaker Genoveva Islas-Hooker, Regional Program Coordinator for the nationally recognized Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) presents promising strategies for developing community leaders who can direct advocacy change initiatives that address the escalating incidence of obesity in rural areas.

New York Times

WASHINGTON -- A slice of pizza still counts as a vegetable.

In a victory for the makers of frozen pizzas, tomato paste and French fries, Congress on Monday blocked rules proposed by the Agriculture Department that would have overhauled the nation's school lunch program.

The Fruit and Veggie Quantity Cookbook - Revised Edition was launched this week by the New Hampshire Obesity Prevention Program (OPP), Division of Pubic Health Services, Department of Health and Human Services. The OPP partnered with New Hampshire Hospital Food and Nutrition Services to test all 31 recipes.

There's an upward swing in states around the country that are using legal measures to combat the childhood obesity epidemic. In fact, according to a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 12 states passed laws relating to school nutrition, compared with seven in 2009. And eight states and the District of Columbia passed measures in 2010 related to physical activity and physical education in school, compared with five the previous year.

Washington, D.C. July 7, 2011 - New Hampshire was named the 33rd most obese state in the country, according to the eighth annual F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America's Future 2011, a report from the Trust for America's Health (TFAH) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). New Hampshire's adult obesity rate is 25.6 percent.

Candy, soda, french fries and even chocolate milk will now be banned from sale at Massachusetts public schools, as the Public Health Council begins implementing new legislation.

The new law, which passed through the state senate last March, proposes a blanket ban on all sugary competitive foods -- luxury snacks offered as a la carte items outside the National School Lunch Program, The Boston Globe reports. While school lunches themselves must already comply with federal health standards, soft drinks and other outside goods have not until now.

From Walmart to an inner-city "Fresh Moves" bus, nationwide policy changes are greening up food deserts

Over the past year we have seen a substantial amount in the news addressing food deserts and their impact on the obesity prevention movement. A food desert is a low-income census tract where either a substantial number or share of residents has low access to a supermarket or large grocery store. We have food deserts right here in NH, and the more successful ideas we see modeled across the country, the closer we come to a solution for our rural / underserved communities as well. Scroll down to the bottom of the article for an inspiring video on what Chicago is doing to address their food deserts.

School policies that let parents know when their children are overweight or obese appear to have little impact on the problem, a new study finds.

In the last decade, almost all public schools in California collected information about height and weight on fifth-, seventh-, and ninth-graders, but only some schools opted to send the results to parents. Dr. Kristine A. Madsen of the University of California, San Francisco took advantage of the different policies and evaluated the impact of that notification.

Many New Hampshire businesses may start workplace wellness programs in an effort to help stabilize health care costs, but several Keene area businesses have found that the benefits go beyond controlling company expenses and can actually address workers' biggest complaint: stress.

2011 NH Farmers Market Week was a great success with special activities at many markets around the state.

Gov. John Lynch and Dr. Susan Lynch helped to celebrate National and New Hampshire Farmers Market Week with a visit to...


AARP Foundation is seeking to fund the development or scaling of innovative, sustainable solutions to hunger that have the potential to make a significant

LACONIA SUN -- School Board members on Tuesday night consented to a proposal that will lead to the creation of a "Health and Wellness Academy" in the city, a joint project between the School District and the Lakes Region Partnership for Public Health. The initiative is an attempt to create a comprehensive strategy to engage students, staff and families in health-promoting activities.

Pemi-Baker Community Health in Plymouth started implementing a workplace wellness program in 2009. Like many businesses that begin implementing these programs, Pemi-Baker focused on wellness resources provided by its health insurance provider. But Pemi-Baker soon recognized the importance of providing a supportive environment to help employees make healthy choices.

Hillside Middle School Leads Initiative to Improve School Nutrition with Innovative Food Rating System

Guiding Stars, the world's first store-wide nutrition guidance program is teaming up with Hillside Middle School in Manchester, NH for the debut of its good, better, best food rating system. Thanks to a grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, Hillside Middle School will be the first public school in New Hampshire to use Guiding Stars to help students and staff to easily identify nutritious food on the menu.

New study examines beverage industry marketing practices and nutritional content of nearly 600 products.

Young people are exposed to a substantial amount of marketing for sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit drinks, according to a new report from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The new report, Sugary Drink FACTS (Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score), is the most comprehensive assessment of sugary drink nutrition and marketing ever conducted. It analyzed the marketing practices of 14 major companies and the nutritional content of nearly 600 products.

When federal housing officials created a program in the mid-1990s to help single-mother households in poor neighborhoods relocate to low-poverty areas, they weren't merely interested in providing access to better homes, jobs, and schools. They also wanted to study how the families who moved out changed over time compared to those who stayed put.

Foods sold in U.S. stores need standardized labels to let consumers rank their nutritional value, according to a report from a government science panel. The front-of-pack nutrition labels should use a ratings system similar to the federal Energy Star program that rates consumer product efficiency, the U.S. Institute of Medicine said today in the report. The labels should rate sodium, sugar and fat content on a scale of zero to three, the panel said.

Food and beverage companies with a greater percentage of sales from so-called "better-for-you" products do better, financially, than their peers with less healthful fare, a new report finds.

By Mark Bittman
New York Times, September 24, 2011

THE "fact" that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, "when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli ..." or "it's more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald's than to cook a healthy meal for them at home."

LACONIA -- "Sitting still and being quiet is not a normal thing" Tammy Levesque of Project HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) told members of the Laconia School Board last night shortly before leading them on a movement break in which they walked around the room pretending to drive a fast car, then tried gently to knock each other off balance with high fives and even tried to tag each other's knees.

Thank you for attending the HEAL Annual Conference: Effective Leadership for Healthy People in Healthy Places on September 22, 2011.

Below you will find the power point presentations and other important information for you to download. Please contact speakers directly if you have any questions about their presentation. Thank you.

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