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Healthy People Program Tracks American’s Health Indicators

By Susan Eymann, MS07 Jan 2019

In response to the emerging consensus among scientists and health authorities that national health priorities should emphasize disease prevention, a government-sponsored Healthy People program was established in 1979 to promote nationwide disease prevention.

Subsequently updated for Healthy People 2000, Healthy People 2010, Healthy People 2020 and in the planning stages for Healthy People 2030, the program recommends diets with fewer calories; less saturated fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar; relatively more complex carbohydrates, fish and poultry; and less red meahealthy people 2020t and processed foods.

Designed to measure programs over time, the program has 467 specific objectives organized into 28 focus areas. The two primary goals are to increase the quality and years of healthy life and to eliminate health disparities. 

Ten leading health indicators are tracked including:

  • physical activity
  • obesity
  • use of tobacco
  • substance abuse
  • responsible sexual behavior
  • mental health
  • injury and violence
  • environmental quality
  • immunization
  • access to health care

The campaign also identifies six major factors that contribute to disparities in Americans’ health including:

  • gender
  • race or ethnicity
  • education or income
  • disability
  • geographic location
  • sexual orientation