In Light of the Failure to Reach the Healthful Goals of Healthy People 2000 and 2010, What Is the Purpose of Continuing the Healthy People 2020 Goals?

Article excerpt

When goals are not reached, it requires some introspection. Were the goals attainable? In the case of Healthy People 2000 and 2010, yes they were. Why were the goals not met? This is a complex issue that Healthy People 2020 seeks to answer through exhaustive research, new goals, and action plans. Just because one does not meet a goal does not mean it should be forsaken. Rather, it accentuates to our legislators, school administrators, and all who care about healthy people the fact that more action and resources are needed. Additionally, the goals provide a target for professionals to shoot for and reflect the changing emphasis of health from decade to decade. Let us not raise the white flag on Healthy People; instead let us redouble our effort to meet these goals.

--Matthew Cummiskey, assistant professor, West Chester University, West Chester, PA.

A failure to reach goals is no Akreason to stop setting goals. The Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland hinted at the importance of having a vision for where one wants to get; that vision directs which way to go. Once a vision has been established, revisiting the strategies for accomplishing goals is warranted. Revisiting our goals is a critical enterprise as these goals inform the ways in which we try to accomplish them. So, perhaps the more appropriate questions are these: what should be the goals for 2020 (have we set the "right" goals?) and how can we help all professionals and citizens to embrace their collective and individual responsibilities to achieve these goals (how do we turn people who are observers of statistics into participants who take an active role in making changes in their own communities)? Setting achievable Healthy People 2020 goals and working to achieve them is about having a dream. As Bloody Mary in South Pacific sang: "You got to have a dream, If you don't have a dream, How you gonna have a dream come true?"

--Murray Mitchell, professor, Department of Physical Education and Athletic Training, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

The purpose of Healthy People I 2020 should be to remain steadfast in setting goals for the health of Americans. It is too easy to say, "We have failed, so we must give up." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the countless number of experts who set the goals and collect and interpret the data must continue because they provide powerful tools. For example, I have used the CDC obesity maps derived from Healthy People data to impress audiences with the severity of the spread of obesity in the United States. I have used Healthy People 2000 and 2010 volumes I and II in my classes as reading material. The fact is that physical educators must have an intimate understanding of the CDC goals and data and use those resources as tools to educate people and show legitimate reasons for the existence of health and physical education classes. We need these resources now more than ever.

--Loren L. Butler, HPERD associate professor, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO.

The goals of Healthy People 1 2000, 2010, and 2020 are no different than any other goals. Sometimes goals are met, and other times they are not. Simply because the goals were not met does not mean the entire Healthy People initiative should be done away with. The goals need to be reviewed, reevaluated, and published for the public. The goals are something positive to strive toward, and if they are taken away, we risk staying on a path that will inevitably lead to negative health effects for the American people.

--Lindsay Faber, physical education teacher, Carlton J. Kell High School, Mrietta, GA; graduate student, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA.

The goal of Healthy People is to i improve the health of Americans. While there was a failure to reach the healthful goals of Healthy People 2000 and 2010, the aim of Healthy People 2020 is to continue to establish benchmarks and monitor progress over the next nine years to help Americans make the most informed health decisions possible, as well as measure the impact of prevention efforts that are already in place. …