SRPC collaborates with local, regional, state, and federal partners to develop and implement goals and strategies to better understand and improve public health in the region.
SRPC is a member of the Strafford Country Regional Public Health Network (RPHN), which works to enhance and improve public health-related services within the region, and serves on the Regional Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC) Executive Committee.
Using a combination of health and demographic data, stakeholder input, and information from Community Health Needs Assessments and the state's Health Improvement Plan, the PHAC worked to prepare a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) for Strafford County. The 2015-2017 CHIP identifies five public health areas for action:
• Substance misuse
• Mental health
• Obesity and nutrition
• Heart disease and stroke
• Emergency preparedness.
For more information about the CHIP visit: http://goodwinch.org/uncategorized/strafford-county-rolling-out-3-year-community-health-improvement-plan/.
SRPC participates in an Obesity and Nutrition Workgroup tasked with implementing strategies outlined in the CHIP, including improving access to free and low cost recreational opportunities and increasing access to healthy, affordable food.
Led by Goodwin Community Health, the PHAC and Obesity and Nutrition workgroup collaborated with Seacoast Eat Local to start the Somersworth Farmer's Market in 2015, bringing more fresh local food and SNAP benefits to Somersworth and surrounding communities. SRPC assisted with planning, compiled data, and prepared a brochure for market patrons with an inventory and map of recreational opportunities within four miles of the Farmer's Market and information about healthy eating.
Did you know there are over 30 recreation areas within four miles of the Somersworth Farmer's Market and Goodwin Community Health? See some of those locations here!
SRPC also participates in HEAL community network meetings to help bring expertise, new opportunities for collaboration and learning, and resources to the county and region. HEAL is a network of state and community partners that fosters policy, systems and environmental change strategies to achieve two long term goals:
• New Hampshire residents will have equitable access to options for getting around, and safe places to play and be active.
• New Hampshire residents will have equitable access to healthy food
HEAL links communities to strategies, tools and resources for creating healthy environments that help individuals and families make good choices where they live, learn work and play. Find more information about HEAL communities, including the Strafford County Public Health Network, at this link: http://healnh.org/index.php/strafford.
Contact Liz Durfee (email@example.com) for more information about the PHAC, HEAL, and how to become involved.
Obesity rates are increasing in Strafford County. The Strafford County Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC), which consists of approximately 165 people, selected obesity and nutrition as one of Strafford County's top five health priorities based on data gathered and presented to them by the Community Health Institute, as well as fit and feasibility in the county. According to the 2015 County Health Rankings 31% of adults are obese in Strafford County compared to an average of 27% in the state of New Hampshire. Overall, Strafford County ranks 8 out of 10 for health outcomes and health factors in New Hampshire (County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, 2015). Approximately 23% of adults in Strafford County report that they are physically inactive, meaning they do no leisure time physical activity. Adequate fruit and vegetable consumption (five or more servings a day) is low among adults in Strafford County with 70.20% consuming less than the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2005-09).
Childhood obesity in Strafford County, particularly among low-income populations, is substantial. This corresponds to findings throughout the state of New Hampshire that low-income areas have higher obesity rates (NH Division of Public Health Services, 2013). Strafford County has significantly higher obesity rates among WIC enrolled youth than any other county in the state based on data from the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System in 2013.
Environmental conditions may be impacting nutrition in Strafford County. Many areas of Strafford County have low access to fresh produce. The rate of grocery store establishments is 16.2 per 100,000 people, compared to the state rate of 19.7 and the national rate of 21.1. Access to recreation and physical activity access is also low in Strafford County (Strafford CHIP).
New and Exciting Health Initiatives in the Strafford region
Strafford Regional Planning Commission
150 Wakefield Street, Suite 12
Rochester, New Hampshire 03867
Tel: (603) 994-3500 Fax: (603)994-3504