Nursing News

IOM Announces Healthy People 2020 Recommendations

  • Print Page

Recommended Healthy People 2020 Objectives

Increase educational achievement of adolescents and young adults.

Increase the proportion of people with health insurance.

Increase the proportion of people with a usual primary care provider.

Increase the proportion of people who receive appropriate evidence-based clinical preventive services.

Reduce the overall cancer death rate.

Reduce the number of days the Air Quality Index exceeds 100.

Increase the proportion of children who are ready for school in all five domains of healthy development: physical development, social-emotional development, language, cognitive development, and approaches to learning.

Reduce pregnancy rates among adolescents.

Reduce central-line-associated bloodstream infections.

Improve the health literacy of the population.

Reduce coronary heart disease deaths.

Reduce the proportion of people with hypertension.

Increase the proportion of sexually active people who use condoms.

Reduce fatal and nonfatal injuries.

Reduce the proportion of people who experience major depressive episodes.

Reduce low birth weight and very low birth weight.

Reduce the proportion of obese children and adolescents.

Reduce consumption of calories from solid fats and added sugars by people age 2 and older.

Increase the proportion of adults who meet current federal guidelines for aerobic physical activity and for muscle-strengthening activity.

Reduce the proportion of people engaging in binge drinking of alcoholic beverages.

Reduce past-month use of illicit substances.

Increase the proportion of adults who get sufficient sleep.

Reduce tobacco use by adults.

Source: IOM Committee on Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020.


By Debra Wood, RN, contributor

March 16, 2011 - Assuming a broader approach to health than solely tackling specific disease states, the National Academies of Science's Institute of Medicine’s (IOM’s) Committee on Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020 has included increasing adolescents’ educational achievement and young children’s preparation for school in its new list of objectives. These objectives are part of a new report to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, released on March 16, 2011, as the agency prepares the country’s Healthy People 2020 master plan.

“This is a framework that looks at health across the life course,” said committee member Cara James, Ph.D., director of the Disparities Policy Project and director of the Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Healthy People 2020
Cara James, a Healthy People 2020 committee member, emphasized the report's inclusion of social determinants on people's health and well-being.

James said the committee, which met for six months, considered the effect education has on health before including those objectives. For instance, earning potential is higher for college graduates; health insurance is tied to employment opportunities; and the ability to communicate with a health provider, navigate the health care system and health literacy are tied to education. 

The committee said that attaining high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease; health equality; social and physical environments that promote good health; and improved quality of life, healthy development and healthy behaviors across the life stages should be the new overarching goals of Healthy People 2020. Altogether, Healthy People 2020 covers 42 topics and nearly 600 objectives. 

The report updates and expands the 10 leading health indicators that served as priorities for Healthy People 2010 as the agency prepares initiatives for the following decade. The indicators are used to set clear goals for improvement and measure progress.

Access to care, quality of health care services and promotion of healthy behaviors are among the top immediate, major health concerns. In addition, the panel of health experts cited injury, physical and social environments, chronic disease, mental health, responsible sexual behavior, substance abuse, tobacco use and healthy births as areas in need of immediate attention. 

“One of the things that is in the report and important is the perspective we took in looking at the framework of having the indicators go across a life-course health model,” James added. “We include things from childhood, adolescence into adulthood and onto elderly. Nurses care for people across the spectrum, and there are indicators and objectives that fit the model of work nurses do. The focus we have on primary care and screening and making sure people receive appropriate evidence-based clinical services is something we often look to nurses and primary care providers to provide to the community.”

The panel outlined 24 objectives toward affecting change associated with the indicators, such as reducing the number of deaths from cancer and coronary heart disease; increasing the proportion of people with health insurance, a primary care provider and those who receive appropriate, evidence-based clinical preventive services; and decreasing adolescent pregnancy rates, central-line-associated bloodstream infections, hypertension, injuries, obese children and adolescents, and binge drinking.

Travel Nursing Jobs
Thousands of travel nursing jobs available in great cities across the country! Search now & apply.

In addition, the committee suggested adding objectives to three topic areas: social determinants of health, such as income, neighborhood and the availability of food; health-related quality of life and well-being; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender health.

The Department of Health and Human Services will review the report and consider the recommendations before releasing the Healthy People 2020 plan.

© 2011. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.