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The HNH Foundation recently announced a new year-long initiative designed to focus public attention on the obesity epidemic.  Plans call for communities throughout the state to host public screenings of the “Challenges” segment of HBO’s award-winning Weight of the Nation documentary series, which powerfully drives home how public policies and our built environment have contributed to escalating obesity rates.

Over 33% of New Hampshire’s 3rd graders are overweight or obese, and nearly 62% of adults are overweight or obese.

According to HNH Foundation President Sandi Van Scoyoc, engaging communities across New Hampshire in conversations about obesity, based on the Weight of the Nation film, fits the Foundation’s current funding focus: “In preventing childhood obesity, we have become less focused on funding projects that seek to influence individual behavior and more focused on supporting work that considers the impact that the environment and policies play on our health.”

The HNH Foundation has contracted with the Community Health Institute (CHI) of Concord to assist communities in planning, publicizing and hosting these public screenings throughout 2013. According to CHI, the initial group of “collaborating partners” includes HEAL (Healthy Eating Active Living) communities in Laconia, Franklin, the Lakes Region, Ashland, Nashua, and Manchester. These local organizations will invite the public to view and discuss Weight of the Nation, not only raising public understanding about the obesity crisis, but increasing local awareness about related activities in their own communities.

The HNH Foundation’s Weight of the Nation initiative calls for additional screenings throughout the state: any local organization that is interested in hosting a screening is encouraged to contact CHI at 603-573-3306.

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