Thursday, March 17, 2011

Healthy People 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' master plan for improving the health of the American population over the next decade, covers 42 topics and nearly 600 objectives.  A new report from the Institute of Medicine singles out 12 indicators as immediate, major health concerns that should be monitored and 24 objectives that warrant priority attention in the plan's implementation. 

The report updates and expands on the 10 leading health indicators that served as priorities for Healthy People 2010.  The recommendations on what should be the priorities for the latest version of this decadal health plan reflect the consensus of a committee comprising population health experts, epidemiologists, health statisticians, and others.  Indicators provide yardsticks that health experts and policymakers can use to measure progress, and objectives set out clear, concrete goals for improvements. 

The 12 recommended indicators include measures of access to care and quality of health care services, healthy behaviors, injury, physical and social environments, chronic disease, mental health, responsible sexual behavior, substance abuse, tobacco use, and healthy births.

The 24 objectives that the committee identified are:

•      Increase educational achievement of adolescents and young adults.
•      Increase the proportion of people with health insurance.
•      Increase the proportion of people with a usual primary care provider.
•      Increase the proportion of people who receive appropriate evidence-based clinical preventive services.
•      Reduce the overall cancer death rate.
•      Reduce the number of days the Air Quality Index exceeds 100.
•      Increase the proportion of children who are ready for school in all five domains of healthy development: physical development, social-emotional development, language, cognitive development, and approaches to learning.
•      Reduce pregnancy rates among adolescents.
•      Reduce central-line-associated bloodstream infections.
•      Improve the health literacy of the population.
•      Reduce coronary heart disease deaths.
•      Reduce the proportion of people with hypertension.
•      Increase the proportion of sexually active people who use condoms.
•      Reduce fatal and nonfatal injuries.
•      Reduce the proportion of people who experience major depressive episodes.
•      Reduce low birth weight and very low birth weight.
•      Reduce the proportion of obese children and adolescents.
•      Reduce consumption of calories from solid fats and added sugars by people age 2 and older.
•      Increase the proportion of adults who meet current federal guidelines for aerobic physical activity and for muscle-strengthening activity.
•      Reduce the proportion of people engaging in binge drinking of alcoholic beverages.
•      Reduce past-month use of illicit substances.
•      Increase the proportion of adults who get sufficient sleep.
•      Reduce tobacco use by adults.
•      Reduce the initiation of tobacco use among children, adolescents, and young adults.


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