Healthy People 2020: A Roadmap for Health
By Howard K. Koh, M.D., M.P.H., Assistant Secretary for Health
Today, HHS launched the latest version of the historic Healthy People initiative ─ a comprehensive national health promotion and disease prevention agenda for the next decade. Over the past 30 years, Healthy People has served as a framework for public health aspirations and actions. By establishing goals, objectives and targets in a number of topic areas, Healthy People has served as both a public health roadmap and compass for the country.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), over the past decade, the country has either met or moved toward targets for 71 percent of Healthy People 2010 targets. This has translated into progress for a wide range of diseases, conditions, risk factors, and behaviors, including reducing coronary heart disease and stroke deaths, reducing AIDS deaths, reducing tobacco use, increasing cholesterol checks, and increasing fruit consumption. However, at the same time, the country has moved away from targets in other key health areas such as in obesity, which underscores that too many people are still not reaching their highest attainable standard of health.
So now Healthy People 2020, unveiled today, offers an updated vision for this country.
Healthy People 2020’s overarching goals for all Americans include:
- Attaining high quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
- Achieving health equity, eliminating disparities, and improving the health of all groups.
- Creating social and physical environments that promote good health for all.
- Promoting quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.
Healthy People 2020 emphasizes the concept of social determinants of health --- that is, the notion that health is impacted by many social, economic and environmental factors that extend far beyond individual biology of disease. This means that improving health requires a broad approach to promote a health in all policies approach that creates environments where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
Healthy People 2020 has also expanded its reach into a number of important new topic areas: adolescent health; blood disorders and blood safety; dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease; early and middle childhood; global health; genomics; healthcare-associated infections; LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) health; older adults; preparedness; quality of life and well being; sleep health; and social determinants of health.
Please view our new interactive website to review the new goals and objectives for the coming decade at www.healthypeople.gov.