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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has unveiled Healthy People 2020, the nations new 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention, and "myHealthyPeople," a new challenge for technology application developers.
For the past 30 years, Healthy People has been committed to improving the quality of the nation's health by producing a framework for public health prevention priorities and actions.
"The launch of Healthy People 2020 comes at a critical time," says HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius. "Our challenge and opportunity is to avoid preventable diseases from occurring in the first place."
Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths among Americans each year and account for 75 percent of the nations health spending. Many of the risk factors that contribute to the development of these diseases are preventable.
"Too many people are not reaching their full potential for health because of preventable conditions," said Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH. "Healthy People is the nations roadmap and compass for better health, providing our society a vision for improving both the quantity and quality of life for all Americans."
The Healthy People initiative is grounded in the principle that setting national objectives and monitoring progress can motivate action, and indeed, in just the last decade, preliminary analyses indicate that the country has either progressed toward or met 71 percent of its Healthy People targets.
Healthy People 2020 is the product of an extensive stakeholder feedback process that is unparalleled in government and health. It integrates input from public health and prevention experts, a wide range of federal, state and local government officials, a consortium of more than 2,000 organizations, and perhaps most importantly, the public. More than 8,000 comments were considered in drafting a comprehensive set of Healthy People 2020 objectives. Based on this input, a number of new topic areas are included in the new initiative, including:
Blood Disorders and Blood Safety
Dementias, including Alzheimers Disease
Early and Middle Childhood
Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health
Social Determinants of Health
Healthy People is also issuing a special challenge to encourage developers to create easy-to-use applications for professionals who are working with the new national health objectives and state- and community-level health data.
"This milestone in disease prevention and health promotion creates an opportunity to leverage information technology to make Healthy People come alive for all Americans in their communities and workplaces," says chief technology officer Todd Park. "The myHealthyPeople apps challenge will help spur innovative approaches to helping communities track their progress using Healthy People objectives and targets as well as develop an agenda for health improvement."
HHS is also launching a newly redesigned Healthy People Web site that allows users to tailor information to their needs and explore evidence-based resources for implementation. The Web site is located at: www.healthypeople.gov. For more information about myHealthyPeople, go to www.challenge.gov/