HISTORY OF THE HEALTHY PEOPLE INITIATIVE
Healthy People is a national effort that sets goals and objectives to improve the health and well-being of people in the United States. Healthy People 2030 is the fifth edition of Healthy People. It aims at new challenges and builds on lessons learned from its first four decades. The initiative began in 1979, when Surgeon General Julius Richmond issued a landmark report titled Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. This report focused on reducing preventable death and injury. It included ambitious, quantifiable objectives to achieve national health promotion and disease prevention goals for the United States within a 10-year period (by 1990). The report was followed in later decades by the release of updated, 10-year Healthy People goals and objectives (Healthy People 2000, Healthy People 2010, and Healthy People 2020).
WHAT HEALTHY PEOPLE CONTRIBUTES
Healthy People helps users to access data on changes in the health status of the U.S. population; these data also inform each new decade’s goals and objectives. Communities across the United States may adopt Healthy People goals and objectives. Communities, which may be as small as neighborhoods or large as municipalities, may alter the goals
1 Prepared by the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030.
and objectives to meet their own needs and use them to set priorities for their region and population groups. Healthy People priorities are those aspects of health that are the most critical to overall health and well-being and can be improved using our available knowledge.
Since the Healthy People initiative was first launched, the United States has made significant progress. Achievements include reducing major causes of death such as heart disease and cancer; reducing infant and maternal mortality; reducing risk factors like tobacco smoking, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol; and increasing childhood vaccinations. During these decades, the importance of collaborating across agencies at the national, state, local, and tribal levels, and with the private and public health sectors, has been demonstrated.
A key lesson is that a widely accessible plan containing achievable goals and objectives can guide the action of individuals, communities, and stakeholders to improve health. To achieve the health and well-being of all people, it is essential to involve, as active partners, diverse stakeholders from across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. It is important to monitor progress on Healthy People goals and objectives, and to share high-quality data and feedback on progress with stakeholders and the public. In addition, we have learned that significant changes (e.g., reduced rates of smoking) may be difficult, but they are achievable through persistent effort.
Although much progress has been made, the United States lags behind other developed countries (such as other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) on key measures of health and well-being, including life expectancy, infant mortality, and obesity, despite spending the highest percentage of its gross domestic product on health. A challenge for Healthy People 2030 is to guide the United States in achieving our population’s full potential for health and well-being so we are second to none among developed countries.
A society in which all people can achieve their full potential for health and well-being across the life span.
To promote, strengthen, and evaluate the nation’s efforts to improve the health and well-being of all people.
Foundational principles explain the thinking that guides decisions about Healthy People 2030.
- Health and well-being of all people and communities are essential to a thriving, equitable society.
- Promoting health and well-being and preventing disease are linked efforts that encompass physical, mental, and social health dimensions.
- Investing to achieve the full potential for health and well-being for all provides valuable benefits to society.
- Achieving health and well-being requires eliminating health disparities, achieving health equity, and attaining health literacy.
- Healthy physical, social, and economic environments strengthen the potential to achieve health and well-being.
- Promoting and achieving the nation’s health and well-being is a shared responsibility that is distributed across the national, state, tribal, and community levels, including the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.
- Working to attain the full potential for health and well-being of the population is a component of decision making and policy formulation across all sectors.
- Attain healthy, thriving lives and well-being, free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
- Eliminate health disparities, achieve health equity, and attain health literacy to improve the health and well-being of all.
- Create social, physical, and economic environments that promote attaining full potential for health and well-being for all.
- Promote healthy development, healthy behaviors, and well-being across all life stages.
- Engage leadership, key constituents, and the public across multiple sectors to take action and design policies that improve the health and well-being of all.
PLAN OF ACTION
- Set national goals and measurable objectives to guide evidence-based policies, programs, and other actions to improve health and well-being.
- Provide data that are accurate, timely, accessible, and can drive targeted actions to address regions and populations with poor health or at high risk for poor health in the future.
- Foster improvement through public and private efforts to improve health and well-being for people of all ages and the communities in which they live.
- Provide tools for the public, programs, policy makers, and others to evaluate progress toward improving health and well-being.
- Share and support the implementation of evidence-based programs and policies that are replicable, scalable, and sustainable.
- Report biennially on progress throughout the decade from 2020 to 2030.
- Stimulate research and innovation toward meeting Healthy People 2030 goals and highlight critical research, data, and evaluation needs.
- Facilitate development and availability of affordable means of health promotion, disease prevention, and treatment.