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May 10. 2013 9:41PM

HNH Foundation plans 'Weight of the Nation' screening

CONCORD - The HNH Foundation is taking its fight against obesity to communities throughout the state.

The foundation is funding public screenings of "Weight of the Nation," the award-winning HBO documentary series, to educate people on the obesity epidemic and get them talking about it.

The documentary episode "Challenges" was shown during an event in Manchester last month, followed by a complete Streets Workshop. Participants were asked to connect how the existing environment affects health and consider ways planning groups can make improvements that lead to healthier lifestyles through exercise, activity or other methods.

"Hopefully, we are able to make some broad systems changes to support a healthier community," Manchester Public Health Director Tim Soucy told the audience.

After viewing the documentary, participants walked the Second Street Corridor on Manchester's West Side, taking photos and considering how the street - which is already being considered for redevelopment - lacks sidewalks on some sections and is not pedestrian or bicycle friendly.

The Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission will be doing a health-impact assessment and is expected to have it completed this fall.

"The 'Weight of the Nation' film was a good lead-in as to why this work is so important and why some changes to the built environment could be so critical for the health of our communities," said Jillian Harris, a member of the Southern New Hampshire Planning Commission.

The next viewing is scheduled for Crawford Notch on June 18.

The HNH Foundation was formed as the result of the merger between Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New Hampshire and Matthew Thornton Health Plan. The group's mission is to evaluate and promote access to quality health and dental insurance coverage and healthy lifestyles for the residents of New Hampshire.

For more information, visit http://www.hnhfoundation.org.


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