Date:  March 15, 2011




IOM Report Offers 12 Key Indicators and 24 Objectives to Help Focus Healthy People 2020 Efforts to Improve Americans' Health


WASHINGTON — Healthy People 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' master plan for improving the health of the American population over the next decade, covers 42 topics and nearly 600 objectives.  A new report from the Institute of Medicine singles out 12 indicators as immediate, major health concerns that should be monitored and 24 objectives that warrant priority attention in the plan's implementation. 


The report updates and expands on the 10 leading health indicators that served as priorities for Healthy People 2010.  The recommendations on what should be the priorities for the latest version of this decadal health plan reflect the consensus of a committee comprising population health experts, epidemiologists, health statisticians, and others.  Indicators provide yardsticks that health experts and policymakers can use to measure progress, and objectives set out clear, concrete goals for improvements.  


"This report's recommendations will help policymakers and health professionals at the national and local levels focus their actions aimed at achieving the Healthy People 2020 goals," said committee chair David Nerenz, director, Center for Health Services Research, and director of outcomes research, Neuroscience Institute, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit.


The 12 recommended indicators include measures of access to care and quality of health care services, healthy behaviors, injury, physical and social environments, chronic disease, mental health, responsible sexual behavior, substance abuse, tobacco use, and healthy births.


The 24 objectives that the committee identified are:

·      Increase educational achievement of adolescents and young adults.

·      Increase the proportion of people with health insurance.

·      Increase the proportion of people with a usual primary care provider.

·      Increase the proportion of people who receive appropriate evidence-based clinical preventive services.

·      Reduce the overall cancer death rate.

·      Reduce the number of days the Air Quality Index exceeds 100.

·      Increase the proportion of children who are ready for school in all five domains of healthy development: physical development, social-emotional development, language, cognitive development, and approaches to learning.

·      Reduce pregnancy rates among adolescents.

·      Reduce central-line-associated bloodstream infections.

·      Improve the health literacy of the population.

·      Reduce coronary heart disease deaths.

·      Reduce the proportion of people with hypertension.

·      Increase the proportion of sexually active people who use condoms.

·      Reduce fatal and nonfatal injuries.

·      Reduce the proportion of people who experience major depressive episodes.

·      Reduce low birth weight and very low birth weight.

·      Reduce the proportion of obese children and adolescents.

·      Reduce consumption of calories from solid fats and added sugars by people age 2 and older.

·      Increase the proportion of adults who meet current federal guidelines for aerobic physical activity and for muscle-strengthening activity.

·      Reduce the proportion of people engaging in binge drinking of alcoholic beverages.

·      Reduce past-month use of illicit substances.

·      Increase the proportion of adults who get sufficient sleep.

·      Reduce tobacco use by adults.

·      Reduce the initiation of tobacco use among children, adolescents, and young adults.


Three of the 42 health topics covered by Healthy People 2020 lack objectives.  The report suggests specific measures for these topics, which are social determinants of health; health-related quality of life and well-being; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health.


The study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides independent, objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public.  The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies.  For more information, visit  A committee roster follows.



Christine Stencel, Senior Media Relations Officer

Shaquanna Shields, Media Relations Assistant

Office of News and Public Information

202-334-2138; e-mail


Additional resources:

Report in Brief

Project Website


Pre-publication copies of Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020 are available from the National Academies Press; tel. 202-334-3313 or 1-800-624-6242 or on the Internet at  Reporters may obtain a copy from the Office of News and Public Information (contacts listed above).

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Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice


Committee on Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2020


David R. Nerenz, Ph.D. (chair)


Center for Health Services Research

Henry Ford Health System



Frank J. Chaloupka, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics

Department of Economics

University of Illinois



Michael I. Cohen, M.D.

Professor and University Chairman Emeritus

Department of Pediatrics
Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center

Yeshiva University

Bronx, N.Y.


Robert S. Dittus, M.D., M.P.H.
Werthan Professor of Medicine, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Public Health, Associate Dean for
Population Health
Sciences, and Director of the Center for Health Services, and
Division of General Internal Medicine
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tenn.

Cara V. James, Ph.D.
Disparities Policy Project, and
Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Washington, D.C.


Norma Kanarek, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor
Bloomberg School of Public Health, and
Executive Director
Maryland Cigarette Restitution Fund

Johns Hopkins University



Vicki M. Mays, Ph.D., M.S.P.H

Center on Research, Education, Training, and Strategic Communication on Minority Health
University of California
Los Angeles


Marcia Nielsen, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Vice Chancellor for Public Policy and Planning, and
Associate Professor
Department of Health Policy and Management
University of Kansas Medical Center
Kansas City


F. Javier Nieto, M.D., Ph.D.


Department of Population Health Sciences, and

Professor of Population Health Sciences and Family Medicine

School of Medicine

University of Wisconsin



Roy G. Parrish, M.D.

Adjunct Associate Professor

Dartmouth Medical School

Peacham, Vt.


Steven Teusch, M.D., M.P.H.

Chief Science Officer

Los Angeles County Public Health Department

Los Angeles


Scott Young, M.D.
Associate Executive Director for Clinical Care and Innovation,

Co-Executive Director
Care Management Institute
Kaiser Permanente
Oakland, Calif.



Lyla Hernandez

Study Director


Andrew Lemerise

Research Associate


China Dickerson

Senior Program Assistant