Healthy People 2020 is a program for the promotion of health and the prevention of diseases, launched by the Department of Health and Human Services in December 2010. According to, this program has four overarching goals which are first to achieve healthy, longer lives free of preventable diseases, injuries, and premature deaths; to achieve health fairness, eliminate differences, and improve all groups’ health; also to produce social and physical environments that encourage good health; and last but not least to promote life’s quality, healthy development, and healthy behaviors through all life stages. This program has a vision of a community where people live long, healthy lives. Healthy People 2020 offers a comprehensive set of 10 years of nationwide goals and objectives that is meant to improve the health of the American population. Healthy People 2020 covers 42 topic areas with approximately 600 objectives, which include 1,200 measures. A smaller set of Healthy People 2020 objectives, has been designated to communicate high-priority health issues and actions that can be taken to address them, this objectives are called Leading Health Indicators. The program goes above and beyond these health indicators in order to provide the best care for the people of this country. These indictors cover from the access of health service, nutrition, physical activity, and obesity to substance abuse, environmental quality, injury and violence.
According to, a person’s ability to access health services has a profound effect on every aspect of his or her health, almost 1 in 4 Americans do not have a primary care provider or a health center where they can receive regular medical services. Approximately 1 in 5 Americans do not have medical insurance and are more likely to lack a usual source of medical care, and more likely to skip routine medical care because of the very high costs, increasing their risk for serious health conditions. For the program, increasing the access to routine medical care and medical insurance are very important steps to achieve their goal of improving America’s health. The access to health services leading health indicators are those with medical insurance and a usual primary care provider. The access to health services in a regular basis can prevent disease and disability, detect and treat health conditions, increase quality of life, decrease the probability of premature death, and increase life expectancy.
A person’s health depends very much on what the daily diet is and if this person performs the required physical exercise that which are the key to a healthier much stronger life. And of course is very true the old saying that “you are what you eat.” The leading health indicators for nutrition, physical activity, and obesity as a whole are children, teenagers and adults who are considered obese, adults who meet current Federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening activity, total vegetable intake for people older than two years of age. Healthy People 2020 wants the nation to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, minimize the risk of certain forms of cancer, strengthen muscles, bones, and joints, and also improve mood and energy level.
The abuse of substances involving drugs and alcohol is associated with damaging social conditions, including family disruptions, financial problems, lost productivity, failure in school, domestic violence, child abuse, and crime. The Substance Abuse Leading Health Indicators are teenagers using alcohol or any illegal drugs and adults engaging in binge drinking during the past 30 days. Health Impact of Substance Abuse Substance abuse contributes to a number of negative health outcomes and public health problems, including cardiovascular conditions, pregnancy complications, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), domestic violence, child abuse, motor vehicle crashes, homicides, and suicides. The website provides examples of how the abuse of substances can damage health and lives. The use of drugs have been associated to abnormal cardiovascular functioning, like abnormal heart rate and heart attacks. STDs can also be caused by injection drug use. Criminals charged for homicide, assault, and theft, test positive for illegal drugs. In 2009, It was tested that approximately 10.5 million people were reported driving under the influence of illegal drugs and alcohol during the previous year. Premature birth, miscarriage, low birth weight, and a variety of behavioral and cognitive problems are all results of drug exposure during pregnancy.
Whereas injuries and violence, more than 29 million people each year, suffer from severe enough injuries that emergency treatment is needed, and more than 180,000 people die from those injuries, where about 51,000 of these deaths result from violent events. The program believes that both intentional and unintentional injuries are preventable. As far as injuries and violence, the main health indicators are fatal injuries and homicides. Hospitalization, brain injury, poor mental health, premature death, disability, and other causes of injuries and violence can all be prevented and that is what this program is trying to do. The goal is to protect the nation and provide the health care the society needs.
Just like all the other health indicators mentioned above, the environmental quality is vital for a healthy, long life. The environment plays a major role in the life of a human being since it directly affects a person’s health status. Poor air quality is related to premature death, cancer, and long-term damage to the respiratory and cardiovascular system. Secondhand smoke containing toxic and cancerous chemicals that contribute to heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmokers. Approximately 25% of all deaths and diseases can be attributed to environmental factors. The environmental quality leading health indicators are air quality index exceeding 100 and children of ages 3 to 11 exposed to secondhand smoke. Poor water quality can lead to gastrointestinal illness, neurological problems and cancer. Poor air quality can cause cardiovascular disease, cancers, and asthma. Certain chemicals found in homes and workplaces can contribute to severe poisonings and other toxic serious effects.
Healthy People 2020 is the continuation of three decades of health care. The program is renewed every ten years to affiliate to the people’s needs. So far the program tries its best to provide care and medical service to those who need it. The program makes its best to try and maintain people with physical and mental health and try to help those with insurance and even arrange long-term payments so that everyone can enjoy health care with no worries.