NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Mixed Results For Health Goals

June 11, 1999

Twenty years ago, a group of experts from federal, state and local governments established 319 health goals for the nation to meet by the year 2000. In its latest "Healthy People 2000 Review," the Department of Health and Human Services says only about 15 percent of the goals have been met, progress has been made on 44 percent, and for about 20 percent of the objectives the nation is getting less healthy.

  • Among the areas where goals have been met are reductions in infant and childhood mortality, and reductions in breast cancer deaths.
  • But the nation is worse off than it was 20 years ago in the areas of physical activity, the number of children taking physical education and the number of people who are overweight or obese.
  • In the mid-1970s, the proportion of overweight Americans was about 26 percent and the goal set for 2000 was 20 percent -- but by 1995, the proportion had risen to 35 percent.
  • Officials were surprised to find a 35 percent decline in heart disease and a 65 percent drop in strokes.

While infant mortality has continued to decline and is almost at the goal, the rate for black infants is almost twice that for whites. Hispanics are almost twice as likely as whites to be diabetic and blacks have a disproportionately high death rate from diabetes.

Blacks are also much more likely than whites to be hospitalized or die from asthma.

Source: Philip J. Hilts, "Nation Is Falling Short of Health Goals for 2000," New York Times, June 11, 1999.


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