Goals for a healthier America

    Every ten years the United States sets a new agenda to improve health across the country. Officials are presenting the latest draft plan called Healthy People 2020 in Philadelphia on Saturday at the Jefferson School of Population Health.

    Every ten years the United States sets a new agenda to improve health across the country. Officials are presenting the latest draft plan called Healthy People 2020 in Philadelphia on Saturday at the Jefferson School of Population Health.

    Listen:

    [audio:091106tehealth.mp3]

    The blueprint always includes goals for preventing infant deaths, cancer and helping Americans lose weight, but this time the plan also tackles the societal determinants of health. Rear Admiral Penelope Slade-Sawyer explains.

    Slade-Sawyer: In a nutshell health is too important to be left to the health sector alone. It means that there are many other areas of our lives that effect our health. Where you live and what school you go to, what’s the quality of the air you breathe. What about the water you drink?

    Slade-Sawyer directs the federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. She says other new topics include genomics and the drug-resistant infections the get passed from patient to patient in the hospital.

    David Nash is dean of The Jefferson School of Population Health.

    Nash: The dissemination of the report helps employers and others who pay for health care. It gives them ammunition to sponsor more effective prevention and wellness programs. This is especially critical given the recession.

    Nash says poor health is jeopardizing America’s competitiveness because chronic disease and preventable illness cost the national millions of dollars.

    Slade-Sawyer says the new national agenda tackles health equity.

    Slade-Sawyer:
    In other words someone in a small rural community should have access to the same services as someone in a major metropolitan area might have. We understand that they might have to drive to get there, but never the less, we want these people to access services no matter where they are.

    Slade-Sawyer says the 2010 plan wasn’t able to prevent increasing rates of overweight and obesity. She says the nation has continued to pack on pounds in recent years.

    Officials are unveiling the 2020 plan as hundreds of researchers and scientists descend on Philadelphia. The annual meeting of the American Public Health Association begins Saturday.

    Jefferson School of Population Health
    Connelly Auditorium?
    1001 Locust Street
    ?Philadelphia, PA
    www.healthypeople.gov
    www.jefferson.edu/population_health/

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