Obesity, deaths due to heart attacks and cancer continue to plague many Americans. In an effort to reduce these public health matters, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proclaimed Healthy People 2020 goals as its 10-year agenda for improving the health of all Americans. Healthy People, 10-year science-based national objectives for improving the nation’s health, has established 10-year national health goals for over three decades now. In additional to establishing benchmarks, Healthy People also monitors goal progress over the 10-year period. Some of the more prominent 2020 healthy goals are:
1. Reduce obesity by 10 percent (achieved through diet, exercise and weight loss)
2. Cut heart attack caused deaths by 20 percent
3. Reduce deaths caused by cancer 10 percent
4. Slash the number of smokers to 12 percent (from 21 percent)
The 2020 goals cover about 600 areas of health including adolescent health, dementia, early and middle childhood, sleep health, and the use of tanning beds to name a few.
In order to achieve these goals, programs relating to weight loss and healthy living will need to be implemented, according to HHS. New state regulations such as consistent smoke-free laws will need to be passed and adhered to. In order for people to lose weight, programs to fight obesity will need to be established in Dallas, Texas and around the nation. Programs that monitor school lunches will help to reduce childhood obesity. Further, the number of cases of diabetes, which sometimes is obesity-related, will need to be reduced. Again, a healthy lifestyle consisting of diet, weight loss and exercise will be a key factor.
Progress was made on the Healthy People 2010 — 19 percent of the goals were met and advancement made on 52 percent of the goals. Despite progress on some of the goals, some areas, such as our nation’s obesity, have gotten worse from 2000 to 2010. The Healthy People 2020 goals are a road map that individuals, businesses and government, in Dallas and throughout the U.S., can follow to help our nation achieve better health one individual at a time.