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Healthy People 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals

For public health experts and practitioners, creating large-scale goals and objectives can be one way to help inspire and motivate large-scale change. Initiatives such as Healthy People 2020, created by the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Sustainable Development Goals from the United Nations, represent two attempts to set some big targets for improving the health of, respectively, the United States, and the entire world.

Healthy People 2020

As outlined on the website, the overall vision of the initiative is: “A society in which all people live long, healthy lives.” The overarching goals are to:

  • Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
  • Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.
  • Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all.
  • Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.

The initiative is named “Healthy People 2020” because it sets specific benchmarks leading up to the year 2020. It characterizes its agenda is “ambitious yet achievable.”

From within the framework, a number of resources, data sources, and tools are included to help meet these targets. These include:

The site includes accessible health information as well as robust data sources and search options. It is worth exploring and can be a great resource for public health professionals, students, and anyone interested in learning more about fostering healthier communities in the US.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were created at the UN Development Summit in September 2015, and officially launched this month to build on the success of the Millennium Development Goals from the United Nations. According to the SDGs website, each of the seventeen goals has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.

While all of the SDGs aren’t as specific to health as Healthy People 2020, each one impacts health throughout the world to some degree.

Materials to accompany the SDGs, data showing baseline and progress, and tools for people to get involved are still in the works, but it is definitely interesting to see what priorities have been established to help “mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities, and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.”