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Improving health will take a village
Date:12/7/2011

WASHINGTON, DC - Improving health is too multifaceted to be left solely in the hands of those working in the health sector alone, according to the latest Healthy People 2020 Objectives for the Nation. A recent shift in national health priorities has led Healthy People, a program that sets the national agenda for health promotion and disease prevention, to add 'social determinants' into its 2020 goals.

Two papers published in the December issue of the journal Health Education & Behavior (HE&B), published by the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), examine the history of the Healthy People Objectives and the new integration of social determinants in Healthy People 2020.

In both papers, the authors examine the effects of poverty, education and social structure on health and conclude that the country's compass for health improvement must point beyond the diseases to address their root causes and forge new public and private health partnerships.

In their article, "Healthy People: A 2020 Vision for the Social Determinants Approach," U.S. Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, and colleagues outline the need for collective effort and an expanded way of thinking to make true impacts on public health. "Health starts where people live, labor, learn, play and pray. The social determinants approach makes the healthier choice the easier choice for all people throughout the life span."

Addressing social determinants, "could catalyze and broaden healthier public policies and private sector practices outside of what had been traditionally considered the public health domain," write the authors.

In an accompanying commentary, Lawrence W. Green, DrPH, of the University of California at San Francisco and John P. Allegrante, PhD, of Columbia University and editor-in-chief of HE&B, applaud the inclusion of social determinants in Healthy People 2020. They also outline the 40-year history, pe
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Contact: Ashley Loar
ashley.loar@sagepub.com
SAGE Publications
Source:Eurekalert

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