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For Immediate Release
January 25, 2000

"Leading Health Indicators" Unveiled

HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala and Surgeon General David Satcher today released "Healthy People 2010," the nation's health goals for this decade, and also unveiled a new national health assessment tool called the nation's "Leading Health Indicators." Shalala and Satcher made the announcement at the HHS-sponsored "Partnerships for Health in the New Millennium" conference.

Healthy People 2010 contains broad-reaching national health goals for the new decade, focusing on two major themes—increasing the quality and years of healthy life, and the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in health status. Also unveiled were the first-ever leading health indicators, comprising 10 areas of health status, based upon Healthy People 2010 objectives. These new measures will allow Americans to easily assess the overall health of the nation, as well as that of their own communities, and make comparisons and improvements over time.

"The new century brings new challenges and opportunities to improve the health of everyone in the United States," Secretary Shalala said. "People not only want to live a long life, but they also want to enjoy a healthy life. As the baby boom becomes the senior boom, quality of life will become a central issue for our health system. With Healthy People 2010, we want to add years to your life and health to your years."

"Our greatest opportunities for reducing health disparities are in empowering individuals to make informed health care decisions and in providing the skills, education, and care necessary to improve health," said Dr. Satcher. "The underlying premise of Healthy People 2010 is that the health of the individual is inseparable from the health of the larger community."

The nation's progress in achieving these two goals over the course of the decade will be monitored through 467 objectives grouped into 28 "focus areas," devoted to a comprehensive array of diseases, conditions, and public health challenges. Many Healthy People 2010 objectives target interventions designed to reduce or eliminate illness, disability, and premature death among individuals and communities. Others target broader issues, such as improving access to quality health care, strengthening public health services, and improving the availability and dissemination of health-related information. Each objective has a target for specific improvements to be achieved by 2010.

The 10 leading health indicators cover: physical activity, overweight and obesity, tobacco use, substance abuse, mental health, injury and violence, environmental quality, immunization, responsible sexual behavior, and access to health care. The leading health indicators are supported by 21 specific measurable objectives that reflect the influence of behavioral and environmental factors and community health interventions. By monitoring these 21 measures, states and communities can assess their current health status and follow it over time.

Healthy People 2010 reflects the latest health-related research and scientific evidence. The depth of topics covered by the objectives in Healthy People 2010 reflects the array of critical influences that determine the health of individuals and communities. For example, individual behaviors and environmental factors are responsible for about 70 percent of all premature deaths in the United States. Understanding these influences and how they relate to one another are crucial for achieving the Healthy People 2010 goals.

This is the third time that HHS has developed 10-year health objectives for the nation. Since its inception in 1979, Healthy People has served as a national health planning process and established prevention priorities which have been adopted and adapted throughout the country. Currently, most states and many localities use the Healthy People framework to guide local health policies and programs.

After four years of development, Healthy People 2010 is the result of a broad consultation process that included the public, health experts, and the Healthy People Consortium, a public/private alliance of over 350 national organizations and 270 state agencies.

The conference is co-sponsored by many HHS agencies and is convened by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion which coordinates the Healthy People initiative. Non-federal sponsors include the Academy for Educational Development and other private organizations. The Annenberg School for Communication and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania sponsored the Technology Games, an innovative showcase for interactive health programs.


Note: The launch of Healthy People 2010 and other conference highlights can be viewed by satellite and in live streaming video. Satellite and conference information can be found online at; live streaming video will be available at Online information resources for the initiative are located at To order Healthy People 2010: Understanding and Improving Health, call (202) 512-1800 and refer to stock #017-001-00543-6. The full conference edition, which also includes Healthy People 2010: Objectives for Improving Health and Tracking Healthy People 2010, is available in hard copy or on CD-ROM by calling 1 (800) 367-4725.

Note: For other HHS Press Releases and Fact Sheets pertaining to the subject of this announcement, please visit our Press Release and Fact Sheet search engine at

Partnerships for Health in the New Millennium          January 24-28, 2000         Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC

Updated: 05/01/08