Healthy People 2010

The ultimate goals of Healthy People 2010 are to improve the nation's health status and to eliminate health disparity among segments of the U.S. population. One of the priorities of this initiative is to foster a change in America's eating

Top 10 Causes of Death* (U.S. Population)

Many of the leading causes of death in the United States are directly related to diet and excessive alcohol consumption.

Rank

Cause of Death

If

Heart disease

2f

Cancer

3f

Stroke

4

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

(emphysema)

5$

Accidents/injuries

6

Pneumonia and influenza

7f

Diabetes mellitus

8$

Suicide

9

Kidney disease

10$ Chronic liver disease, cirrhosis

10$ Chronic liver disease, cirrhosis

* Top 10 causes of death according to the National Center for Health Statistics, 1997. t Causes of death in which diet plays a part. i Causes of death in which excessive alcohol consumption plays a part.

Healthy People 2010

Overall Health Goals: Increase quality and years of healthy life and eliminate health disparities among different segments of the population

Focus Area: Nutrition and Overweight*

Objective:

Food and nutrient consumption (continued):

Promote health and reduce chronic diseases associated

Decrease sodium intake (2,400 milligrams or

with diet and weight

less daily)

Weight status and growth:

Meet dietary needs for calcium

Increase proportion of people who are of healthy

Reduce iron deficiency and anemia

weight

Schools, worksites, and nutrition counseling

Decrease obesity in adults

Meals and snacks at school should contribute to overall

Decrease overweight or obesity in children and

dietary quality

adolescents

Employers promote nutrition education and weight

Reduce growth retardation in children

management at the worksite or through health plans

Food and nutrient consumption:

Nutrition counseling for medical conditions

Increase fruit intake (2+ servings daily)

Include nutrition counseling in physician office visits

Increase vegetable intake (3+ servings daily)

Food security

Increase grain product intake (6+ servings daily)

Increase access to nutritionally adequate and safe foods

Decrease saturated fat intake (less than 10% of calories)

for an active, healthy life

Decrease total fat intake (no more than 30% of calories)

* Nutrition and Overweight is one focus area (of 28) that targets

interventions designed to increase quality and years of healthy life and

to eliminate health disparities among different segments of the population.

habits. The primary means for achieving these goals is through various nutrition initiatives (see sidebar: Healthy People 2010, above).

Mounting scientific evidence supports a link among diet, health promotion, and disease prevention. Improved nutrition has the potential to prevent or delay many diseases often associated with advancing age. With prevention of illness comes the possibility of reducing health care costs. Therefore, one of the main nutrition objectives is to promote health and reduce chronic diseases associated with diet and obesity. This includes reducing the number of people who die of heart disease, reducing the number of cancer deaths, reducing the prevalence of overweight and diabetes, and reducing growth retardation in children.

To help achieve these health goals, specific nutrition targets were set. These include:

• increasing the proportion of the population who are at a healthy weight

• optimizing food and nutrient consumption, emphasizing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains

• improving nutrition and nutrition education at schools and at worksites

• including nutrition counseling as a regular part of health care

• increasing access to a healthful and safe food supply

Coalitions of government health agencies and the food industry are working collaboratively to provide consistent messages that emphasize the importance of eating a diet rich in plant foods—fruits, vegetables, and grains—and containing less fat (see Other Voices, page 14).

For example, the government has required that labels on foods provide clear and concise information on nutrient content and truthful health claims based on scientific fact. The food industry is developing healthier lower-fat and lower-calorie products, restaurants are identifying healthful choices on menus, and educational efforts on the importance of good nutrition have been stepped up.

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