Healthy People 2020, the federal government’s recently released 10- year program to improve the health of Americans during the coming decade, includes a focus on cancer as a chronic disease with risk factors that people can mitigate through screenings and better lifestyle choices.
The plan marks the fourth time the government has developed a decade-long program for public health. In unveiling the latest version, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said the nation has achieved or made progress on 71% of the Healthy People targets that were set 10 years ago.
The agency said chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, account for 7 out of every 10 deaths and 75% of health spending in the United States. Healthy People 2020 will serve as a strategic management tool for state and local governments, nonprofit groups, and private sector companies to promote disease prevention, according to HHS.
The centerpiece of the 2020 program is an interactive, consumer-friendly Website that will be kept up to date with information on evidence-based research and emerging public health issues. HHS said the plan also draws attention for the first time to the concept of health equity and offers tools to analyze risk factors and other data by race, ethnicity, and age.
The site organizes information into 13 new topics, including genomics, blood disorders and blood safety, older adults, and healthcare-associated infections. It includes a section on cancer that emphasizes the importance of screenings for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers, and details preventive measures to lessen the risks of getting skin and lung cancers.
In addition, HHS is seeking to enlist software developers in creating applications that enhance public health. The Health 2.0 Developer Challenge offers prizes for winning entries for the myHealthyPeople apps category. One of the challenges involves developing a tool communities can use to analyze National Cancer Institute data.
More Info» www.healthypeople.gov