Healthy People is a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that sets health objectives for the nation for a 10-year period. The current set of objectives is referred to as Healthy People 2010, but as 2010 is fast approaching, the department is considering a new set of health priorities to target, and has held numerous public meetings to brainstorm the next stage.

The objectives typically cover preventable disease, increasing quality and length of life, and the elimination of health disparities across a range of focus areas. For example, Healthy People 2010 included an objective to “Reduce cesarean births among low-risk (full term, singleton, vertex presentation) women” and provided a 15 percent target c-section rate for first births, and 63 percent for births after previous cesarean. This target has not been met, with the CDC data from 19 states indicating that in 2006 – the most recent year of finalized data currently available – 23.5 of every 100 first, live births was by cesarean, and repeat cesarean rates were about 92 percent. It has been included again as-is for the 2020 objectives.

The agency is now accepting public comments on the proposed 2020 objectives. For each focus area (such as access to health services; maternal, infant, and child health; cancer; etc.), you can:

  • review objectives retained as-is,
  • see which were modified or dropped from the HP2010 goals,
  • and clearly see objectives new to HP2020. You can then comment directly on an individual objective and review comments already submitted.

Objectives that may be of interest to WVFC readers include: Increase the proportion of adults with doctor-diagnosed arthritis who have had effective, evidence-based arthritis education as an integral part of the management of their condition; and Decrease incidence of late-stage disease breast cancer.

There are many, many others which readers may want to review and comment on, in focus areas such as maternal health, disability, cancer, older adults, sexually transmitted infections, adolescent health, family planning, violence prevention and environmental health. You can create a profile on the site, or choose to view objectives and comment anonymously. Comments are being accepted through Dec. 31, 2009.

(Gently adapted from Our Bodies, Our Blog. Thanks very much to OBOB’s Rachel.)

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