History of Healthy People

History of the Healthy People Initiative

Healthy People 2030 is the fifth iteration of Healthy People. It builds on knowledge gained over the past few decades and addresses the latest public health priorities and challenges.

In 1979, Surgeon General Julius Richmond issued a landmark report titled “Healthy People: The Surgeon General's Report on Health Promotion and Disease Prevention." Then, in 1980, ODPHP released Healthy People 1990 — the first set of ambitious, measurable 10-year objectives for improving health and well-being nationwide. It was followed in later decades by Healthy People 2000, Healthy People 2010, Healthy People 2020, and now Healthy People 2030.

Progress Made

Since the original Healthy People initiative was launched, the United States has made significant progress on key public health priorities. Organizations at the local, state, territorial, tribal, and national level have focused their resources and efforts to improve the health and well-being of all people. Achievements include reductions in:

  • Major causes of death, like heart disease and cancer
  • Infant and maternal mortality
  • Risk factors like smoking, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol

Progress like this isn’t easy, but it’s possible with persistence.

Lessons Learned

One of our key lessons learned from Healthy People is that a widely accessible plan with achievable goals can guide individuals, organizations, communities, and other stakeholders to improve health. We also know that improving health nationwide requires collaboration both within and beyond the public health field. In addition, we’ve learned how important it is to monitor progress toward achieving Healthy People objectives and to share high-quality data and feedback.

Although we’ve made a lot of progress, the United States still faces many challenges. Healthy People provides a framework for addressing emerging health issues like COVID-19, the opioid epidemic, and e-cigarette use — along with ongoing issues like heart disease, cancer, and obesity.