‘Healthy People 2010’ is a 10-year health strategic plan of the United States, which aims at promoting healthy lifestyles and prevention of diseases. The health strategic plan has it basis from Healthy People 2000 health agenda, which emanated from collaborative efforts of the United States government, citizens, and public health organizations.
Culmination of the Healthy People 2000 objectives did set stage for the formulation of Healthy People 2010 healthy strategic plan of the United States. The Healthy People 2010 has two major objectives: to improve the quality and length of healthy life, and eliminate healthy disparities in the society that has been very unequal.
To achieve its objective, the Healthy People 2010 identified 28 healthy indicators that are critical in assessing progress of health, but health experts identified 10 leading health indicators. The 10 leading health indicators give enough information regarding health status or issues in the population for policymakers to make appropriate policies. Obesity is one of the health issues with indicators such as physical activity, environmental quality, and access to healthcare falling in the 10 leading indicators of Healthy People 2010.
Physical activity is one of the leading health indicators according to Healthy People 2010 for it determines prevalence of obesity in the society. Physical activity intricately links with nutrition because the health status of a body does not only depend on physical activity, but also intake of nutritious diet and subsequent assimilation and utilization of the nutrients.
Since a healthy diet supplies the essential nutrients to the body, proper and optimum physical activity is necessary to enhance their assimilation and utilization, hence preventing the accumulation of the excess nutrients into toxic levels or causing obesity in the case of carbohydrates.
According to Centers for Disease Control [CDC] and Prevention (2009), enhanced physical activity and modification of diet are effective measures of reducing incidences of obesity in the society with health disparities and inequality (p.1). Thus, healthy body requires nutrients and physical activity to improve physiological and biochemical processes of the body, hence prevents occurrence of the obesity.
Social and physical environment is also another leading health indicator that determines predisposition to obesity. Series of studies have confirmed that social and physical environments influence eating and exercising habits of individuals.
Some environments such as workplaces and schools discourage physical exercises because people eat well yet they become preoccupied with other issues and neglect healthy lifestyles such as physical exercise. Due to lack of enough exercise in such environments, people gain weight and become obese. Social behaviors such as unhealthy eating habits have significant influence on the eating lifestyles of the people in certain social environments.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009), abundance of food, lack of exercising facilities and contemporary occupations that do not provide time for physical activities have contributed significantly to the development of obesity (p.2). Palatable and innutritious diets that are conveniently available in social places coupled with the lack of physical exercises degenerate into weight gain and obesity.
Accessibility to health care services is one of the 10 leading indicators of health that determines prevalence of obesity in the society. Since health status of the body depends on the nutritional and physical fitness, inaccessibility to health care services and vital information necessary for healthful lifestyles means that the population will neither eat nutritiously nor exercise well.
Satcher (2000) argues that, accessibility to health care is critical in enhancing measures of public health such as prevention, treatment, and management of diseases through provision of health information (p.2864). The inaccessibility to information concerning nutrition and physical activity increases prevalence of obesity in the population. Thus, to reverse increasing trends of obesity, accessibility to vital information in the healthcare institutions by the public is imperative.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (2009). Healthy People 2010. National Center for Health Statistics. Retrieved 14 June 2011, from
Satcher, D. (2000). Eliminating Global Health Disparities. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 284(22), 2864.