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Can This Be the Healthiest Place in America?

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, November 21, 2013

This is a population health strategy: A plan years in the making and backed by the local medical center may make Cheshire County, NH, the healthiest community in the nation by 2020.

"Almost without interruption we had the mountain in sight before us,"-- Henry David Thoreau

wrote about 3,165-foot Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire, a mountain that inspired him, spiritually and physically.

At the base of Mt. Monadnock where the air and water are still clear and cool , thousands of residents, with physician and hospital support, are thinking about different mountain to climb. Their goal is to become the healthiest area in America.

Do you want to talk about population health planning? Cheshire County, NH, is exploring it big time, far beyond the four walls of its lone hospital and physician offices.

The 169-bed Cheshire Medical Center/ Dartmouth Hitchcock Keene, hospital and primary care and multispecialty clinic has sparked an initiative, dubbed Healthy Monadnock, to become the healthiest community in the nation by 2020. Cheshire County has 23 towns and is located in the southwestern corner of the state. According to the census, the county has 76,851 residents within its 729 square miles.

It's no joke. There is a concerted effort to make the Monadnock area the healthiest in the nation. The plan, years in the making, includes government and civic policy changes that officials hope will prompt its community organizations, schools, workplaces and municipalities to make healthy choices about how they eat, how they exercise, and generally take care of themselves.

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1 comments on "Can This Be the Healthiest Place in America?"


J. Kuriyan (11/22/2013 at 9:32 AM)
While Cheshire County has to be commended for the effort, how do they propose to prove that the health of their population is improving, let alone claim to be the "healthiest"? Of course they can make it more easy for residents to follow a healthier lifestyle but the central question remains "If you build it, will they come?" A claim for a "healthier environment" doesn't justify being labeled as a "healthier community" until there is quantitative proof that the health of residents is improving.