Will You Be Among the Healthy People 2020?

Just in time for the New Year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled Healthy People 2020, the next set of 10-year goals for improving the nation’s health.  The vision for the Healthy People program is to create a society in which all people live long, healthy lives.   To this end, in collaboration with public health and prevention experts, a wide range of federal, state and local government officials, a consortium of more than 2,000 organizations and the public, created goals and objectives to serve as a road map for public health for the next ten years.

Knowing that chronic diseases, such a heart disease, cancer and diabetes are responsible for seven out of every 10 deaths in the U.S. annually and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending, the Healthy People 2020 goals focus on programs that promote healthy lifestyles.  Some of the new goals for 2020 are:

  • Reducing obesity by 10%
  • Cutting the number of smokers by 21%
  • Cutting deaths from heart attack by 20%
  • Cutting cancer deaths by 10%.

According to HHS, 19% of the Health People 2010 goals were met and progress was made on another 52%; however, in some areas such as obesity and diabetes, things have gotten worse.  In fact, according to the National Women’s Law Center and Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), a satisfactory rating was only handed out on three of 26 measures of good health for women.  The three goals that were met throughout the country are the number of women receiving mammograms, the number of women getting screened for colorectal cancer and the number of women going for annual dental visits.  Like men, more women are obese and more suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes.

Because the population of the U.S. who are 65 and older is estimated to grow from 13% today to 20% by 2030, “Older Adults” is a new topic area in Healthy People 2020.  This is not new news to those in the Japanese American community, which reached over 20% at 65 and older in as early as 2000.

Many factors affect the health function and quality of life of older adults.  These include:

  • Individual Behavioral Determinants:  Behaviors such as participation in physical activity, self-management of chronic diseases, or use of preventive health services.
  • Social Environment Determinants:  Housing and transportation services affect the ability of older adults to access care.  People from minority populations tend to be in poorer health and use health care less often than people form nonminority populations.
  • Health Services-Related Determinants:  The quality of the health and social services available to older adults and their caregivers affects their ability to manage chronic conditions and long-term care needs effectively.

If you attended the Women’s Wellness Conference in October 2010, are you continuing with your commitments to exercise, eat well, and socialize?  We will be following up with the conference attendees in April 2011 to see how you are doing.  If you were not able to attend the Conference, know that one of the key take-aways was that we, as women, are empowered to take charge of ourselves for genki living.

To learn more about Healthy Aging 2020, go to www.healthypeople.gov/hp2020/.  To learn more about maintaining healthy lifestyles, go to http://www.keiro.org

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