There's a lot more to staying healthy than washing your hands and exercising regularly. A person's health is influenced by a wide variety of outside factors, some more difficult to address than others. It's impossible for any one person to address these issues; in order to build a healthier future for everyone, systemic change is needed. Healthy People 2030 is striving to be that systemic change.
What is Healthy People 2030?
Launched in August 2020 by the Department of Health and Human Services, Healthy People 2030 is a health initiative focused on improving public health. It's also the fifth iteration of the Healthy People initiative, which began in 1979. Healthy People 2030's goal is simple: meet a series of 359 core health objectives and create a healthier future within the next century.
The Five Social Determinants of Health
A person's health is influenced by a wide variety of outside factors. These factors can be grouped into five main categories, referred to as the five social determinants of health:
- Economic stability
- Quality of education
- Quality of healthcare
- Neighborhood and built environment
- Social and community context
1. Economic Stability
Unfortunately, staying healthy isn't cheap. Healthcare, housing, and even healthy food are expensive, meaning those without steady or sufficient income are often unable to afford them. This is especially true for those with chronic illnesses or disabilities that prevent them from working.
2. Quality of Education
A child's education sets a foundation for the rest of their life, including their health. Higher levels of education can help people to achieve safer, higher-paying jobs when compared to those with lower levels. What's more, people who struggle academically and don't go to college or graduate from high school are more likely to have health problems such as heart disease and depression.
3. Quality of Healthcare
Comprehensive healthcare is perhaps the most important factor in healthy living. This includes not only emergency services for immediate issues, but regular physicals and preventative screenings. Many Americans don't have health insurance, which means many Americans are unable to receive these services in a timely manner, if at all. This means common illnesses and injuries go untreated, while hidden conditions aren't discovered until they've gotten much worse.
4. Neighborhood and Built Environment
Believe it or not, a person's neighborhood can have a significant impact on their overall health. Things like neighborhood violence rates, poor road infrastructure, lack of safe walking spaces, and air or water pollution can be detrimental to one's health. These problems tend to be more prominent in lower income neighborhoods, or neighborhoods predominantly populated by racial/ethnic minorities.
5. Social and Community Context
It's natural to lean on others when going through difficult times. That's why a person's support system and their relationships with friends, family, and coworkers can also affect their health. Poor relationships can lead to stress-related health complications, and an inadequate support network can make it more difficult to get help when needed.
Healthy People 2030's Leading Health Indicators
Leading Health Indicators (LHIs) are health objectives set as high priority by Healthy People 2030. They address factors that are linked to high rates of death and disease in the US and account for all stages of life.
The highest priority for infant LHIs is infant deaths, whether from premature birth, low weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), or other health complications.
Children and Adolescents
Child and adolescent LHIs tend to be more focused on an educational environment, such as below-average reading levels. They also focus on issues such as childhood obesity or the use of tobacco among adolescents.
Adults and Seniors
As people age, LHIs tend to focus on screenings for hidden issues such as cancer or diabetes, as well as addictions such as smoking or alcoholism. Some LHIs also focus on employment rates.
Nearly half of all currently listed LHIs involve people at all stages of life. These include issues linked to environmental factors, such as exposure to polluted air or water, as well as socio-economic factors, such as homicide, household or food insecurity, or lack of comprehensive healthcare.
The Healthy People 2030 Framework
The Healthy People 2030 initiative is built upon an established framework, which includes the program's vision, mission, overarching goals, and plan of action.
Healthy People 2030's vision is a society where all people can live a healthy, happy life and achieve their full potential.
Healthy People 2030's mission is to promote and strengthen national efforts to improve the health and well-being of the people.
In order to achieve its vision, Healthy People 2030 has set a list of overarching goals along with its core objectives:
- Reduce rates of preventable disease, injury, and premature death.
- Improve public health and well-being by eliminating health disparities and achieving equity.
- Promote healthy behaviors across all stages of life.
- Create environments that encourage public health and well-being on social, physical, and economic levels.
- Engage leadership and the public to design policies to improve public health and well-being.
Plan of Action
Healthy People 2030's plan of action focuses heavily on providing the tools and data communities need to improve their own health. This includes setting measurable goals and providing timely, accessible data in order to drive public action. The initiative also plans to report progress biennially in order to highlight areas of potential improvement.
How Arnot Health Can Bring You a Healthier Future
Much like the Healthy People 2030 initiative, Arnot Health also strives to give our patients a higher quality of life through reliable, affordable healthcare. We offer both primary care and special services, such as X-rays, lab tests, and cancer care. If you're concerned about the cost of treatment for you or a loved one, our financial assistance guide can help you get the support you need. Find a service provider in your area today and take the first step towards a healthier future.