According to the United Health Foundation, New Hampshire was the third-healthiest state in 2008, after Vermont and Hawaii; it was ranked fourth in 2007. Strengths include a low percentage of children in poverty (6.5% of persons under age 18), high immunization coverage with 93% of children ages 19 to 35 months receiving complete immunizations, and a low infant mortality rate at 5.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. Since 1990, the prevalence of smoking has decreased from 30.7% to 19.3% of the population and the incidence of infectious disease has decreased from 18.3 to 8.1 cases per 100,000 people (UHF, 2009).


Challenges include moderate public health funding at $59 per person and a moderate number of poor mental health days per month at 3.5 days in the previous 30 days. In addition, access to health care varies significantly by race and ethnicity in the State; 23.6% of Hispanics lack health insurance compared to 12.9% of non-Hispanic whites (UHF, 2009).

Health statistics for Cheshire County, of which Keene encompasses about one-third of the population, were similar to state levels, and are indicative of a healthy community (Table 12). Cheshire County, however, ranked lower than the state for physical activity, health coverage, current health status, mental health conditions, obesity, and smoking rates. Cheshire County rates for heavy drinking, asthma, and diabetes were better than the state average (Figure 5).