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

oals for 2020 are:

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

To achieve these and other goals, programs that promote healthy lifestyles and new state regulations will be needed, such as more smoke-free laws, improved children's school lunches and other programs to fight obesity and reduce the number of new cases of diabetes.

The 2020 goals cover almost 600 areas of health, from food poisoning to getting more people insured, to reducing the use of cancer-causing tanning beds and reducing children's exposure to allergens.

Many of the 2020 goals are modest, unlike the loftier goals of other year's programs.

"That's a result of a public advisory committee looked at lessons learned from Healthy People 2010," Blakey said. "The goals for Healthy People 2010 were particularly ambitious and really shot for the stars. The committee wondered whether it was effective to set overly ambitious goals that we knew we couldn't achieve. The committee recommended that for Healthy People 2020 we set goals that were realistic and achievable."

If a similar process was used for 2010 goals they would have achieved 50 percent of them, Blakey said.

For example, in 2000 almost 25 percent of the population was obese and the 2010 goal was to cut that 15 percent. But in 2010, the obesity rate has risen to 34 percent, so the new goal is to cut that by only 10 percent.

Also in the past decade, the number of cases of diabetes has been increasing and the number of smokers remains at about 20 percent.

On the plus side, Americans are living longer and deaths from heart disease and cancer are dropping. However, much of this appears to be due to better treatment, not to healthier living.

Healthy People 2020 goals include such areas as:

  • Adolescent Health
  • Blood Disor
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