NH DHHS - County Health Rankings

According to a New Report, Rockingham County Is the

Healthiest in the State; Coos County Still Poorest in Health

Steps New Hampshire Is Taking to Address the Issues

Concord, NH – Rockingham County remains the healthiest county in New

Hampshire, while Coos County continues to rank as the least healthy in the

fifth annual County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood

Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health

Institute (UWPHI), which looks at every county in the United States. This

year’s rankings are broken out into two overall measures for the first

time: Health Outcomes, which measure how healthy a county is, and Health

Factors, which look at the influences on health in any given county. For

Health Factors, Rockingham is still leading and Coos is still at the

greatest disadvantage. The positions of the other counties, however, are

very different in each category.

The Rankings, available at www.countyhealthrankings.org , include a snapshot

of each county in New Hampshire with a color-coded map comparing each

county’s overall health ranking. Researchers looked at the length and

quality of life to determine Health Outcomes. Health Factors include

measures of health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors,

and physical environment.

“This report emphasizes that where you live can have a direct impact on

your health,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at the New

Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. “We know the specific

factors that can shorten someone’s life, such as smoking and poor diet, but

we often fail to realize the other factors that can contribute to our

longevity, such as access to and the quality of healthcare, how walkable

neighborhoods are, how clean our air and water are, and how safe the

community is where we live. Here in New Hampshire, there is some exciting

work being done to help make changes in public health at the local and

regional levels, such as the State Health Improvement Plan and the Public

Health Advisory Councils in our thirteen Public Health Regions.”

The State Health Improvement Plan (

www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/documents/nhship2013-2020.pdf ) as released in 2013 and

is the result of months of work by many partners and organizations that

identified 10 priority areas for improvement with measureable objectives

and targets for health outcomes, areas for needed attention in public

health capacity, and recommendations for evidence-based interventions and

actions. It is intended to provide support, guidance, and focus for

communities throughout the State and act as the roadmap for public health

going forward with the aim of significantly improving the health of the

people of New Hampshire.

At a regional level, 13 local agencies are funded to host a regional Public

Health Network (www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/rphn/index.htm ). These community-based

partnerships help provide public health infrastructure and were aligned in

2013 with the substance misuse prevention system in New Hampshire. That

alignment has led to a new initiative to convene a Public Health Advisory

Council in each region, which are intended to establish regional public

health priorities based on assessments of community health; improve

efficiency through coordination of public health activities; and leverage

the strengths of individual entities working on various health improvement


For more information about the Division of Public Health Services visit the

DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov