It is interesting to take a step outside of yourself and evaluate the American population and our health status. In the land of opportunity, we indulge in less than healthy lifestyles. As Americans, we have wide ranging goals to direct us toward areas that we need to make progress. Evidently, it is not just your doctor that wants you to get healthier. Are you aware of the United States Government campaign entitled “Healthy People 2020”?
Here is the link to all of the extensive goals that have been established to promote better health care for Americans: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/default.aspx
Some of the highlights for the Elderly populations:
- Increase utilization of preventative health services. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 includes provisions that are offered through Medicare to assist with financial coverage for preventative exams and services. These services are underused among many racial and ethnic populations.
- Improve quality of life. The goals for this area are to educate older adults about dealing with chronic illnesses, improving activity and physical fitness levels, and increasing the care for disabled people.
- Injury Prevention. 1/3 of older adults will fall and potentially be injured. Falls can have a drastic effect on personal behavior and cause increased fear of falling, sedentary behavior, decreased ability to perform life activities, and lower an individual’s quality of life. Decreasing risk factors such as osteoporosis is one of the goals for this category.
- Caregivers. By 2020, methods will be established to improve education for caregivers and conduct research studies to investigate effective methods to assist the people who are caring for our aging population.
Improving Physical Activity in Adults and Children is one of the big categories identified for movement toward positive changes. Reported on the “Healthy People 2020” website, 80% of Adults do not meet the recommended guidelines for aerobic and muscle strengthening activities.
Education levels can influence the activity level of adults as well as their children. “Healthy People 2020” is working toward making positive connections between healthcare providers and educators to assist with increasing activity levels of the American population.
Sidewalks and availability of play and recreational equipment also influences the level of physical activity within populations. “Healthy People 2020” objectives describe the pursuit of additional plans to assist with city planning to improve types of recreation facilities and transportation to recreation/exercise areas.
The aims of the National Physical Activity Plan are to help Americans “improve health, prevent disease and disability, and enhance quality of life.”(http://www.physicalactivityplan.org/theplan.php)
These goals have been set forth to provide opportunities for Americans to improve their health and live longer, healthier lives. As individuals take advantage of more educational opportunities and programs to improve their health, society will inevitability make some positive growth in this direction as well.