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CDC report says NH does well in food safety, but we need more exercise

January 23. 2014 9:35AM

CONCORD - The state of New Hamsphire rates well when it comes to food safety, healthcare-associated infections and the death rate from heart disease, but residents tend to drink more alcohol and soda, not use seat belts as much as the rest of the country, and need more high school physical education classes, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"As a whole we are doing well in our prevention rates," said Dr. José Montero, director of public health at the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services. "I am proud of the employees at the DHHS and all of our partners and the excellent work they do every day under difficult circumstances to protect the people of New Hampshire. There is, however, room for improvement, and we will certainly be using this report to analyze where we can improve going forward."

The state was scored on 10 different topics with each rated with a red, yellow, green system.

The study found New Hampshire residents drink nearly twice as much alochol than the national average - 4.4. gallons vs. the U.S. average of 2.3 - but the state got a green rating for having a commercial liability law.

New Hampshire also earned a green rating, however, because it has a commercial liability law concerning alcohol.

The state's public health lab also scored green for testing all samples of both salmonella and E. coli submitted to them and earned the top ranking regarding health care-associated infections because of a statewide prevention program and because it performs data gathering and reporting annually.

New Hampshire has a lower coronary heart disease death, self-reported high blood pressure, and stroke rates than the U.S. average, but a slightly higher self-reported high cholesterol rate. On the other hand, the state does not have a "robust electronic health record system," according to the report, and the pharmacists collaborative drug therapy manager policy only received a yellow rating.

The state has low prevalence rates for HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and for new diagnosis overall, the rate of new HIV diagnosis of late-stage disease is slightly higher than the U.S. average. The state also scored green on all three identified solution areas: Medicaid reimbursement, HIV testing laws and data reporting.

When it comes to motor vehicle injuries, the state was on par with the country as a whole for the overall motor vehicle-related death rate, the death rate among 15- to 20-year-olds, and the percentage of crashes related to alcohol consumption. However, the report observed seat belt use is much lower than the national average and, as a result, the state receive three red scores on seat belt law, child passenger restraint law and graduated drivers licensing.

When it came to nutrition, physical activity and obesity, the state's obesity rates were no better than the national average, and consumption of soda and physical education classes for high school students were worse than the U.S. overall. The rates of abuse of prescription drugs are about the same as the national rates but the state does not have a pain clinic law nor a prescription drug monitoring program.

The study found N.H.'s teen pregnancy rate and the use of birth control by teens are much better than the national average, but the state still received a red rating for not expanding Medicaid coverage to include family planning.

The smoking rate in New Hampshire is on par with the country's rates, but the state received a yellow score for cigarette excise tax, a red for comprehensive state smoke-free policy and a red for tobacco control funding.

To read the entire report, visit the PSR website at health/psr. For questions about the report itself contact

Health New Hampshire

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