The nation’s health is improving in more than half of the critical measures that are known to have major influence in reducing preventable disease and death, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Healthy People 2020 represents the nation’s current 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention. Twenty-six specific measures—in categories such as access to care, maternal and child health, tobacco use, nutrition and physical activity—were identified as high-priority health issues. These Leading Health Indicators (LHI), if addressed appropriately, have the potential to significantly reduce major influences or threats on the public’s health that cause illness and death.
“The Leading Health Indicators are intended to motivate action to improve the health of the whole population. Today’s LHI Progress Report shows that we are doing just that,” says Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health. Koh also notes that with the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we can expect to see more improvements across these indicators.
There are 14 health indicators that have either been met or are improving in this first third of the decade, including:
- Fewer adults smoking cigarettes;
- Fewer children exposed to secondhand smoke;
- More adults meeting physical activity targets; and
- Fewer adolescents using alcohol or illicit drugs.
While progress has been made across several indicators, the LHI Progress Report highlights areas where further work is needed to improve the health of all Americans. There are 11 Leading Health Indicators that have not shown significant improvement at this point in the decade, and 1 indicator where only baseline data are available.
For more information about the Leading Health Indicators Progress Update, please visithttp://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/LHI/default.aspx.