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U.S. Government Sets New Health Goals for 2020
Date:12/3/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- As 2010 winds down, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced its next set of 10-year goals for improving the nation's health, including making dents in rates of obesity, smoking and deaths from cancer and heart disease.

"The reason for Healthy People is to try to move the nation to better health," said Carter Blakey, the Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary at HHS' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

"The Healthy People objectives are to some extent a road map for public health, cataloging the places we can and should go over the span of a decade," added Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

According to HHS, about 19 percent of the Healthy People 2010 goals were met and progress was made on another 52 percent. However, in some areas, such as obesity, things have gotten worse since 2000.

But the Healthy People goals are also, to some degree, aspirational, Katz noted. "Achieving these objectives is dependent both on developing new tools, new programs and new methods, and on turning what we already know into what we routinely do," he explained.

"Heart disease, for example, is widely considered to be all but eradicable with full application of what we know about just three factors: tobacco use, diet and physical activity," Katz said.

"To date, we have failed to achieve fully the aspirations of Healthy People," he said. "Whether or not 2020 proves different will depend to a lesser degree on the creation of new ways to get there, and to a larger degree on the will to follow paths already open to us."

But Blakey stressed that when goals aren't met there are a lot of factors that are in play. Not meeting a goal is not seen as a failure, but as an area where more work is needed.

With that in mind, some of the new g
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