What to Know About Healthy People 2030

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on June 24, 2022
4 min read

The Healthy People initiative was started in 1979 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as a way to improve health and prevent disease throughout the United States. Every decade, Healthy People identifies science-based objectives for public health promotion and benchmarks that can be used to monitor progress. 

Healthy People 2030 is the latest edition of Healthy People. It was released on August 18, 2020, as a collaborative effort between the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2030 and many other public and private people and organizations. The vision for Healthy People 2030 is that all people can achieve their full potential for health and well-being. 

There are three types of objectives outlined in Healthy People 2030: 

Core objectives. These are high-priority goals that can be measured throughout the decade. There are sources of data, baseline data, and an opportunity to measure data at least twice more for these targets. There are 355 core objectives. All of the core objectives: 

  • Are of national importance
  • Have evidence-based interventions 
  • Have disparities and focus on health equity 

Developmental objectives. These are high-interest areas that don't currently have reliable baseline data. Developmental objectives do have evidence-based interventions, but they haven't been evaluated enough or don't have enough data to meet core objective status. There are 115 developmental objectives. 

Research objectives. Research objectives are areas where more research is needed to identify evidence-based interventions. Research objectives have high health or economic costs or are areas where there are significant disparities between groups of people. These are areas where there are significant opportunities for advancement. There are 40 research objectives. 

Leading Health Indicators (LHIs) are high-priority core objectives that address major causes of death and disease at different ages. LHIs help organizations focus their resources on efforts that have the greatest impact. 

All ages. Leading health indicators that apply to all ages include: 

  • Regular dental care (over age 2)
  • Calories consumed as added sugars (over age 2)
  • Deaths from drug overdose
  • Unhealthy air exposure
  • Homicides
  • Suicides
  • Hunger and food insecurity
  • Seasonal flu vaccines
  • Known HIV status
  • Medical insurance

Infants. The only LHI for infants is infant death. 

Children and adolescents. LHIs for children and adolescents include:

  • Obesity
  • Reading scores among 4th graders that are at or above the proficient level
  • Current use of any tobacco products
  • Treatment for major depressive episodes 

Adults and older adults. The LHIs for adults and older adults include: 

  • Binge drinking alcohol in the past 30 days
  • Meeting guidelines for aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity
  • Colorectal cancer screening
  • Controlled hypertension
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Employment for working-age people
  • Maternal deaths
  • Newly diagnosed cases of diabetes

Healthy People 2030 is guided by the following principles:

  • An equitable, thriving society depends on healthy people and communities.
  • Physical, mental, and social health has to be considered when trying to promote health and prevent disease.
  • Society benefits when all members achieve their potential for health and well-being. 
  • Health and well-being can only happen when health disparities are eliminated, health equity is achieved, and people have health literacy. 
  • Public, private, and nonprofit organizations share the responsibility of promoting health and well-being at the community, state, and national level.
  • Health and well-being should be a part of decisions and policymaking across all sectors.

There are five overarching goals of Healthy People 2030: 

  • Eliminate preventable injury, disease, disability, and premature death so people can be healthy and thrive.
  • Improve the well-being and health of everyone through health literacy and equity while eliminating health disparities.
  • Encourage healthy development and lifestyles among all ages. 
  • Encourage everyone to achieve their full potential for health and well-being by creating supportive social, financial, and physical environments.
  • Improve the health and well-being of people by encouraging leaders and people. 

Health People 2030 is focused on three priority areas: 

Advancing health equity. Health equity involves achieving the highest level of health for all people. A health disparity is a health difference that's tied to an economic, environmental, or social disadvantage. Health disparities can be related to: 

  • Ethnic group
  • Religion
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Mental health
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Geographic location

Social determinants of health. Social determinants of health (SDOH) are closely linked to health equity. SDOH are conditions in the environments where people are born, live, or spend time that affect their quality of life and a wide range of health risks. The five domains of SDOH include:

  • Economic stability
  • Education quality and access
  • Health care quality and access
  • Neighborhood and built environment
  • Social and community context

Attain health literacy. Healthy People 2030 aims to ensure both personal and organizational health literacy. 

Personal health literacy is the ability to find, understand, and use information and services to make well-informed decisions about health for yourself and others. Organizational health literacy relates to how well organizations equitably enable people to find and use information and services to make well-informed decisions about health for themselves and others.