Thursday, December 2, 2010

Renewed Focus on the Determinants of Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services today unveiled Healthy People 2020, the nation’s new 10-year goals and objectives for health promotion and disease prevention, and “myHealthyPeople,” a new challenge for technology application developers.

The Healthy People program aims is to improve the quality of our nation’s health by producing a framework for public health prevention priorities and actions. The Healthy People 2020 program includes new topics of focus, including:
• Adolescent Health
• Blood Disorders and Blood Safety
• Dementias, including Alzheimer’s Disease
• Early and Middle Childhood
• Genomics
• Global Health
• Health-Related Quality of Life and Well-Being
• Healthcare-Associated Infections
• Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health
• Older Adults
• Preparedness
• Sleep Health
• Social Determinants of Health

Part of this program will examine what makes some people healthy and others unhealthy, and how we can create a society in which everyone has a chance to live long, happy lives. They recognize that solutions must address a broad range of personal, social, economic, and environmental factors that influence health status, which are known as determinants of health.

I have written many times on my blog about Canada’s seven determinants of health, and still firmly believe that if health care reform in the U.S. is to be successful, we have to address all the issues that affect overall health, not just hospitals/primary care. Therefore, I am glad to see this focus on all the factors that influence health besides health care providers, since it is clear that sectors such as education, housing, transportation, agriculture, and environment can be important allies in improving population health.

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