As part of National Public Health Week, the American Public Health Association and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Health teamed up on Tuesday to host a webinar providing a progress update on the nation’s Leading Health Indicators.
Healthy People 2020 lays out national objectives for improving the health of all Americans over a 10-year period, tracking over 1,200 indicators related to health. The Leading Health Indicators are a subset of these measures, tracking a total of 26 high-priority outcomes.
Tuesday’s update revealed that the nation is either improving or has already met the HP 2020 target for nearly 54 percent of the Leading Health Indicators. Successes include the proportion of children exposed to secondhand smoke, adults receiving colorectal cancer screenings, and adults meeting physical activity and muscle strengthening guidelines.
Unfortunately, a number of troubling trends have emerged in areas where there has either been no change or outcomes are actually on the decline. For example, despite widespread efforts, rates of obesity among all age groups remain unchanged. Additionally, both suicide rates and the rate of adolescents with major depressive episodes are on the rise.
Additional information can be found in the Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators: Progress Update report released on Tuesday.