Plans for a Healthier America

Education for Health, an initiative of Healthy People 2020, outlines the course for improving health education

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Healthy People 2020 is a science-based agenda to improve the health of all Americans over the next 10 years. One crucial element of that agenda is Education for Health.

Education for Health is an initiative that identifies the educational goals of the Healthy People project and offers a means to promote and discuss health education for both the American public and health professionals. A series of articles that assess current needs and objectives for public health education can be found in the February 2011 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The Healthy People Curriculum Task Force is the group responsible for this new set of educational goals. The Task Force was founded in 2002 with the objective of increasing health education in the United States.

In order to reach the 2020 objectives, the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force recommends a collaborative approach to health practice and education. In other words, the key to achieving the most favorable levels of communication and comprehension is for health professionals to practice and learn together.

As health professionals work together, they can begin to better understand their varied and specific roles. Additionally, it is crucial to connect clinical health professions, public health, and educators at all levels, according to Richard K. Riegelman, M.D., Ph.D., from George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, and David R. Garr, M.D., from the Medical University of South Carolina, co-chairs of the Task Force.

As Americans become more and more unhealthy, they also become increasingly costly to the healthcare system and the country. Health complications such as obesity and diabetes not only cost money for medical care but also for the productivity loss due to death and disability.  In 2007, diabetes cost the United States more than $174 billion. In 1998, overweight and obesity costs were as high as $78.5 billion. Be that as it may, the educational goals of the Healthy People Curriculum Task Force are not only important to reduce growing healthcare costs, but also to improve the health and quality of life for American individuals.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 13, 2011
Last Updated:
January 14, 2011