New Report Documents Improvement in Americans' Health

Article excerpt

HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala recently released the most recent data from the Healthy People 2000 initiative showing continued improvement in the health of Americans during the current decade. The report, Healthy People 2000 Review, 1998-99, shows that the Nation is on track to reach, or has already reached, the targets for more than one-half its health objectives.

"As the century draws to a close, we can be proud that we have made significant strides in improving the health of Americans. Healthy People 2000 lets us measure the overall progress we have achieved in preventing disease and promoting health during this decade," said Secretary Shalala. "These achievements are the result of a partnership effort, with more than 350 national organizations in the Healthy People coalition. We enter the new millennium as a team working together."

The Healthy People initiative, begun in 1979 and reformulated each decade, provides an annual review of the progress of the health of Americans during the latter part of the century. Healthy People 2000 defines the Nation's health agenda for the current decade through more than 300 objectives in disease prevention and health promotion.

Overall, 15 percent of the targets have been met, including many in such diverse areas as nutrition, maternal and child health, heart disease, and mental health. Targets to reduce outbreaks of waterborne diseases and foodborne infections, and oral and breast cancer deaths, were also met.

An additional 44 percent of the objectives are progressing on schedule towards the target, including child immunizations, breasffeeding, regular dental visits, mammography screening, and consumption of five fruits and vegetables a day. Some objectives, such as the reduction of infant mortality, are only a fraction away from their targets. …