January 28, 2019
Healthy People is an initiative released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that provides a 10-year timeline of public health objectives (e.g., increased immunization rates, reduced food insecurity) for improving the health of Americans. Healthy People is now in its fourth edition as Healthy People 2020 (launched in 2010), and efforts to develop Healthy People 2030 are well underway.
From December 3, 2018, through January 17, 2019, the public had the opportunity to provide comments on the proposed objectives for Healthy People 2030. While FRAC took this opportunity to comment and contribute to establishing the nation’s next roadmap for health, we were disappointed that the comment period was open such a short amount of time and coincided with the holiday season and a government shutdown. It is too early to know if these factors impacted the quality or quantity of comments received by HHS.
Overall, FRAC was encouraged by many of the objectives proposed by HHS and the strong emphasis on the social determinants of health (social, economic, and environmental factors that impact health and well-being). In our comment, we specifically supported these objectives proposed by HHS:
- Reduce household food insecurity and in doing so reduce hunger;
- Increase the proportion of students participating in the School Breakfast Program;
- Increase the proportion of schools that do not sell less healthy foods; and
- Increase the proportion of persons served by community water systems who receive a supply of drinking water that meets the regulations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
To strengthen Healthy People 2030 even further, FRAC urged HHS to consider the following additional objectives that, in part, elevate the importance of accessing the federal nutrition programs to producing better health outcomes:
- Increase the percentage of eligible individuals participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
- Increase the percentage of eligible women, infants, and children participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
- Increase the number of children in child care centers and family child care homes participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP);
- Increase participation in the Summer Food Service Program;
- Increase the percentage of fully redeemed monthly food benefits among women, infants, and children participating in WIC;
- Increase the proportion of medical providers screening for food insecurity; and
- Increase the number of schools that have potable water readily available to children throughout the school day. (Potable water is water that is safe to drink or to use for food preparation.)
FRAC will continue to monitor and engage in the Healthy People 2030 process as it moves forward, with the ultimate goal of improving the health, nutrition, and well-being of low-income Americans.
Read FRAC’s full comment letter to HHS.