For the past three decades, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a national agenda aimed at improving the health of all Americans over each 10-year span. Under each of these Healthy People initiatives, HHS established health benchmarks and monitored how well people were reaching them over time. HHS asked the IOM to review the Healthy People 2020 objectives and recommend leading health indicators that could sharpen the focus of the agenda. In particular, the IOM was asked to identify 12 key topics and 24 key objectives, and to identify 24 leading indicators that are critical to the nation’s health needs.
With this basis, the IOM identified a set of basic principles for Healthy People 2020 and developed a conceptual framework within which the topics, indicators, and objectives would be developed or selected. The IOM concludes that the indicators for Healthy People 2020 should prove valuable in eliciting interest and awareness among the general population; motivating diverse population groups to engage in activities that will exert a positive impact on specific indicators and, in turn, improve the overall health of the nation; and providing feedback on progress toward improving the status of specific indicators.
The complete set of topics, indicators, and objectives recommended by the committee is displayed in the table below.