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Public Health

Vetted resources and information on current public health events.

Healthy People Initiative

What is the Healthy People Initiative?

The Healthy People initiative began in 1979 when Surgeon General Julius Richmond issued a landmark report titled “Healthy People: The Surgeon General’s Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention.” The next year, in 1980, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) released Healthy People 1990, which was followed in later decades by new iterations of the Healthy People initiative, each building on the last.

Through 10-year national objectives, the HHS Healthy People initiative helps individuals, organizations, and communities committed to improving health and well-being address public health priorities.  Across the United States, individuals, organizations, and communities use Healthy People objectives to set their own priorities. Healthy People helps them identify areas and populations with the greatest need -- and focus their resources and efforts accordingly.

Healthy People Decadal Initiatives

At the start of every decade, we launch a new iteration of Healthy People that builds on knowledge gained in previous decades. 

Since we launched the first set of Healthy People national objectives in 1980, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to improve health and well-being nationwide. For example, over the decades we’ve increased our focus on social determinants of health and added objectives related to health literacy.

Healthy People 1990

Healthy People 1990 included the first set of ambitious, measurable 10-year objectives for improving health and well-being nationwide. It focused on decreasing deaths throughout the life span and on increasing independence among older adults.

Healthy People 2000

Healthy People 2000, the second iteration of the initiative, was guided by 3 broad goals:

  • Increase the span of healthy life
  • Reduce health disparities
  • Achieve access to preventive services for all
Healthy People 2010

Healthy People 2010, the initiative’s third iteration, had an increased focus on improving quality of life. In addition, one of its overarching goals was to eliminate health disparities rather than simply reduce them.

Healthy People 2020

Healthy People 2020, the initiative’s fourth iteration, had 4 overarching goals:

  • 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
Healthy People 2030

Healthy People 2030, launched in August 2020, is the fifth -- and current -- iteration of the Healthy People initiative. It builds on knowledge gained over the last 4 decades and has an increased focus on health equity, social determinants of health, and health literacy -- with a new focus on well-being.

Healthy People 2030

About the Healthy People 2030 Objectives

Healthy People 2030 includes a wide range of objectives developed by workgroups made up of subject matter experts in specific topics. Most Healthy People objectives measure progress towards a target over time, but some aren’t measurable or have other limitations.

Core Objectives

Most Healthy People 2030 objectives are core, or measurable, objectives that are associated with targets for the decade. Core objectives reflect high-priority public health issues and are associated with evidence-based interventions. 

Core objectives have valid, reliable, nationally representative data, including baseline data from no earlier than 2015. If applicable, they have a measure of variability. Data will be provided for core objectives for at least 3 time periods throughout the decade.

Developmental Objectives

Developmental objectives represent high-priority public health issues that are associated with evidence-based interventions but don’t yet have reliable baseline data.

Research Objectives

Research objectives represent public health issues with a high health or economic burden or significant disparities between population groups — but they aren't yet associated with evidence-based interventions. 

Research objectives may also be added throughout the decade to address emerging issues.

Core Objectives

The 358 national data-driven core objectives are organized into five intuitive topics so you can browse and easily find the information and data you’re looking for.

Some Healthy People 2030 objectives are also Leading Health Indicators (LHIs) -- a subset of high-priority objectives that cover the life span. Most LHIs address important factors that impact major causes of death and disease in the United States, and they help organizations, communities, and states across the nation focus their resources and efforts to improve the health and well-being of all people. Healthy People 2030 includes 23 LHIs.