ODPHP Director

ODPHP guides the nation toward better health through disease prevention and health promotion efforts. Health and Well-Being Matter is a blog series from the ODPHP Director that features information about timely national public health priorities, observances, events, and initiatives. Read the Director's thoughts on efforts to improve health and well-being for all people.

The State of Health Among Older Americans

Health and Well-Being Matter. ODPHP Director, RADM Paul Reed, MD.

“Twelve years ago, we asked ourselves the question, ‘Can a community be healthy if its seniors are not?’ That led us to our first spotlight report, and several have come since then.” - Dr. Rhonda Randall, Senior Medical Advisor to America’s Health Rankings & United Health Foundation Board MemberI am happy to introduce another entry in our quarterly vlog series, where we engage with partners in the public and private sectors to discuss the ways in which we can collaborate to advance our collective mission to promote greater health equity and well-being for all people...

Coming Together to Address Loneliness and Isolation

Health and Well-Being Matter. ODPHP Director RDML Paul Reed, MD.

People need people. We connect with one another as family and friends, through the communities within which we live, in our workplaces, across support networks that stretch beyond our geographic location, and in many other ways that — whether we intend them to or not — help fulfill our fundamental human need to socialize and interact. All these encounters, big and small, add up and reflect an individual’s level of connection with the world — a vital ingredient in developing and maintaining overall health and well-being. This connection is a social imperative that we, both individually and as communities, have come to overlook far too often.

Feeding Our Children Nutritious Foods Should Be the Easiest of Decisions

Health and Well-Being Matter. ODPHP Director RDML Paul Reed, MD.

In the United States, nearly 1 in 5 children and adolescents aged 2 to 19 years were affected by obesity in 2020. Worse still, childhood obesity rates rose during the pandemic, and they continue to increase. These statistics aren’t abstract epidemiologic concepts. They clearly reflect that our children are becoming sicker and at greater risk for lifelong problems, and they are entirely preventable.

Hypertension: a Pandemic Perspective

Health and Well-Being Matter. ODPHP Director RDML Paul Reed, MD.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, puts tens of millions of people at risk for largely preventable conditions — such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure — and premature death. Hypertension is one of the leading modifiable risk factors causing chronic disease and premature mortality in the United States. Yet a large percentage of Americans are unaware that they have hypertension, and only about 1 in 4 adults in the United States have it under control. Preventing and controlling hypertension for Americans will save lives, reduce inordinate costs, and improve health, well-being, and resilience. The first step toward these outcomes is acknowledging that hypertension, sometimes called the “silent killer” for often going undetected before leading to serious harm, is also a “silent pandemic” — and though it’s not a contagious threat in the traditional sense, hypertension needs to be addressed with even greater attention and urgency. The statistics clearly define the problem.