Must confess that I have heard of the leading economic indicators, but never the leading health ones. The Dept of HHS is a good source, however. This seems a pleasant surprise in terms of results.
Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Leading Health Indicators: Progress Update, which shows that we are making progress in more than half of the 26 Healthy People 2020 Leading Health Indicators (LHIs).
There are 14 health indicators that have either been met or are improving in this first third of the decade, including:
• Fewer adults smoking cigarettes
• Fewer children exposed to secondhand smoke
• More adults meeting physical activity targets
• Fewer adolescents using alcohol or drugs
(My emphasis: I consider smoking to be a horrible killer and crippler of humans. The fact that fewer adults are doing it and fewer children are exposed to second hand smoke is wonderful positive news. You can read my Page – How Bad is Smoking? for more info.)
As of March 2014, progress generally has been positive toward achieving the HP2020 targets for the 26 LHIs, with 14 indicators (53.9%) having either met their target or shown improvement:
• 4 indicators (15.4%) have met or exceeded their HP2020 targets.
• 10 indicators (38.5%) are improving.
• 8 indicators (30.8%) show little or no detectable change.
• 3 indicators (11.5%) are getting worse.
• 1 indicator (3.8%) has only baseline data.
The LHIs are a subset of Healthy People 2020 objectives, which communicate high-priority health issues known to have a major influence in reducing preventable disease and death. These indicators are used to assess the health of the Nation, facilitate collaboration across sectors, and motivate action at the national, State, and community levels to improve the health of the U.S. population.
While progress has been made across several indicators, the LHI Progress Update highlights areas where further work is needed to improve the health of all Americans.
You can see the progress made within each of the 26 leading health indicators.