Priorities: Public Health Council of the Upper Valley

Substance Misuse

Kids promote drug and alcohol free lifestyles

NH and VT continue to have some of the highest rates of alcohol and other drug use and binge use when compared with national averages. Misuse of these substances contributes to numerous community and health concerns, including accidental injuries, overdoses, maternal-child health complications, crime, and poor school/work performance.

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Promoting Healthy Weight

Boys-healthy-food-choice-1024-683Obesity is a complex health problem that impacts one in four New Hampshire adults (26.2%). Obesity also increases the risk for developing many chronic diseases. New Hampshire ranks 19th in the nation for children aged 10-17 years who are obese (15.5%). Obesity during childhood is predictive of obesity later in life, and is of great concern. Over the past 40 years, rates of obesity have doubled and in some cases tripled in our Upper Valley population.

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Improving Oral Health Care

WIC-SMILES-2013-oral-health-710-525Access to oral health care for the region’s low-income, underserved populations has been a recurring theme of community health assessments as far back as 1994, when the Red Logan Dental Clinic was established in response to the recognition that the Upper Valley oral health safety net was inadequate (particularly for adults.) Between 2003 and 2015, stakeholders and community members have identified poor oral health as a leading regional need.

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Helping Older Adults Stay Strong and Independent

exercise-710-525The population of older adults in the United States is increasing steadily, and in northern New England, the increase significantly outpaces other regions’ growth. In the 20th century, the “three-legged stool” of pensions, savings, and Social Security helped to sustain older adults after retirement. In the latter part of the 20th century—and certainly today—pensions have become a rare benefit and studies show that as adults move toward retirement, most have saved $50,000 or less.

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Emergency Preparedness

road-closed-hazardous-weather-new-hampshire-840-426The Upper Valley, like all communities, faces many threats with the potential for large-scale health consequences, including disease outbreaks, natural disasters, and mass violence. We have seen such threats in the past decade, including ice storms, Hurricane Irene, Slayton Hill flooding, and more.

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Supporting People Living with Mental Illness

depressed-man-1024-683Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 — who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada.

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Climate and Health

fuel-oil-spillOverall, New Hampshire has been getting warmer and wetter over the last century, and the rate of change has increased over the last four decades. Historic trends and climate model forecasts track a broad range of likely outcomes for climate change. Changes in our climate do have impacts on health.

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