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Diabetes Dateline
Winter 2011

HHS Launches Healthy People 2020

Photo of two women and three men sitting at an outside table and drinking coffee.The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officially launched Healthy People 2020 on December 2, 2010, at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The event marked the formal release of the decade’s national health promotion and disease prevention objectives.

Each decade since 1980, the HHS has released a comprehensive set of national public health objectives. Known as Healthy People, the initiative has been grounded in the notion that setting objectives and providing benchmarks to track and monitor progress can motivate, guide, and focus action.

The HHS convened the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020 to aid in the process of developing the next decade’s guidelines. The Advisory Committee was charged with providing advice and consultation to the Secretary: 1) to facilitate the development and implementation of national health promotion and disease prevention goals and objectives, and 2) to inform the development of initiatives that will occur during initial implementation of the goals and objectives.

Healthy People 2020 should assist federal agencies in setting priorities and in providing funding and support to organizations and institutions that are able to help achieve the objectives. The Advisory Committee stated that Healthy People 2020 “should no longer be known primarily as a print-based reference book to be kept on the shelf for a decade. It should also be a Web-accessible database that is searchable, multilevel, and interactive.”

Healthy People 2020’s overarching goals include eliminating preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death; achieving health equity, eliminating disparities, and improving the health of all groups; creating social and physical environments that promote good health for all; and promoting healthy development and behaviors across every stage of life.

Members of the public health community—especially federal, state, and local health agencies—have traditionally been viewed as the primary audiences for Healthy People. The Advisory Committee proposes that Healthy People 2020 be designed for use by a wider range of groups in both the public and private sectors. Tailored messages and products are needed to make Healthy People useful for this expanded audience-base, which should include the general public, voluntary organizations, faith-based organizations, businesses, health care providers, decision-makers, researchers, community-based organizations, grass-roots advocates, and others whose actions have significant health consequences.

The December 2 launch program included remarks by HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard K. Koh, M.D., and members of the Advisory Committee; an introduction and orientation to the Healthy People 2020 website and objectives; and a panel discussion about the uses of Healthy People 2020.

For more information about the Healthy People 2020 initiative, please visit

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NIH Publication No. 11–4562
January 2011

Page last updated: December 5, 2011

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