I remember when the government first announced its Healthy People 2010 project. The 10-year goals were created to improve the health of the nation and set by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). I remember thinking when the project came out, more than 10 years ago, that the goals were ambitious, yet I was thrilled that obesity and a healthy lifestyle was being talked about on such a national level.
Well, it’s 10 years later, and it’s time for another set of health goals for the United States: Healthy People 2020. This time, the goals are much more moderate, as the obesity epidemic is only getting more widespread.
According to the agency, preliminary analyses indicate that the country has either progressed toward or met 71 percent of its Healthy People targets. However, chronic diseases that are highly preventable, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are still responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75 percent of the nation’s health spending. Obesity rates have recently reached 30 percent in some states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
So what are the new goals for 2020?
- Reducing obesity 10 percent.
- Cutting the number of smokers by 21 percent.
- Cutting deaths from heart attack 20 percent.
- Cutting cancer deaths 10 percent.
Healthy People 2020 is also going high-tech and is issuing a special challenge to encourage developers to create easy-to-use applications for professionals who are working with the new national health objectives and state- and community-level health data, according to the HHS.
What do you think of the new health goals?