EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

December 16, 2013

N.H. ranks fifth, Mass. fourth for health

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“We know that smoking is linked to a number of negative health outcomes, so the decrease in the prevalence and the availability of programs to promote continued reductions is important,” Simonsen said.

The report pointed to another health concern for the state.

“One of the challenges for New Hampshire that is highlighted in the report is the prevalence of binge drinking,” he said.

Salem health officer Brian Lockard said he hasn’t reviewed the report’s findings yet, but they sound impressive.

“That is a reflection of the state in which we live,” Lockard said.

Plaistow health officer Dennise Horrocks agreed.

“New Hampshire has ranked in the top five healthiest states for several years and we are very fortunate to live in a healthy state,” Horrocks said.

The report does show areas that need improvement, she acknowledged.

By identifying high priority health issues, public health partners can work together to overcome challenges facing the state, she said.

When compared with other states, New Hampshire had a much higher score for actions that can affect future health and that provides a positive indication the state will improve, Horrocks said.

In key categories in the study, New Hampshire ranked 22nd in obesity, 11th in smoking and 16th in diabetes. Massachusetts ranked second in obesity, seventh in smoking and 10th in diabetes.

Binge drinking was identified as a challenge for both states. A high incidence of pertussis, or whooping cough, infections was a challenge for New Hampshire, while a high rate of preventable hospitalizations was a challenge for Massachusetts.

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