NH DHHS - Healthy Smiles–Healthy Growth Report

Comparison Findings of the New Hampshire 2013–2014 Healthy Smiles–Healthy

Growth Third Grade Survey Show Dramatic Decrease in

Obesity and Tooth Decay



Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) has compared the results

of the 2013–2014 Healthy Smiles–Healthy Growth Third Grade Survey with the

2008–2009 survey and finds improvements have been made. The statewide

survey was funded by the HNH Foundation and Northeast Delta Dental. The

data show a marked improvement over the last five years and demonstrate

progress in reducing health disparities in both obesity and oral health

status. Data were collected at public elementary schools in each county

throughout New Hampshire. The Nashua Division of Public Health and

Community Services coordinated data collection for the City.



When compared with the 2008–09 survey DPHS found:



Obesity

- 30% decrease statewide in obesity prevalence

- 34.8% decrease in obesity among students in schools that have more than

50% of students eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch

- 46% reduction in schools that have 25% or less students who qualify for

Free or Reduced Lunch

- 37% decrease in boys



Oral Health

- 54.4% decrease in untreated decay in Coos County

- 31.7% decrease in untreated tooth decay statewide

- 32.5% decrease in children with immediate dental needs

- 20.4% increase in dental sealants in schools with more than 50% of

students who qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch



“The findings support the collaborative efforts that took place across the

State beginning in 2008,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health

at DHHS. “We are very excited to see large improvements in obesity and

dental sealants in schools that have high eligibility for Free or Reduced

Lunch and a decrease in untreated tooth decay in Coos County. In order to

sustain these improvements and further reduce health disparities,

businesses, private foundations, community organizations, and government

are working together to target resources and strategies. This will have a

collective impact and improve the health of the people in New Hampshire.

This is exciting progress and is the result of efforts by many partners

from parents to schools to dental health professionals, nutrition and

physical activity advocates, all designed to target efforts in areas where

worse health outcomes exist.”



Beginning in 2008, DPHS was awarded a five-year $2.2 million CDC grant to

establish an Obesity Prevention Program (OPP). OPP supported Healthy Eating

Active Living (HEAL) NH by providing assistance and resources to schools,

worksites, and communities. Additionally OPP focused efforts in child care

settings training over 300 child care providers to improve nutrition and

physical activity in their programs. Other key partners included HEAL NH,

the Foundation for Healthy Communities, the NH Department of Transportation

Safe Routes to School Program, NH Regional Planning Commissions, and the NH

Child Development Bureau.



The Oral Health Program in the Division of Public Health Services has

worked with many external partners to target interventions in areas with

oral health disparities found in the 2008–2009 survey. The 54.4% decrease

in untreated decay in Coos County and the 20.4% increase in dental sealants

in schools with more than 50% of students who qualify for Free or Reduced

Lunch demonstrate that targeted efforts can result in significant

improvements.



The HNH Foundation and Northeast Delta Dental Foundation provided funding

for data collection, while the Association of State and Territorial Dental

Directors contributed technical assistance for the sampling and data

analysis of the Third Grade Survey. The purpose of the survey was to gather

representative data on oral health and height/weight status for third grade

students statewide.



The complete New Hampshire 2013–2014 Healthy Smiles–Healthy Growth Third

Grade Survey is available on the DHHS website.