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Health Objectives for the Nation Consensus Set of Health Status Indicators for the General Assessment of Community Health Status -- United States

Healthy People 2000 establishes a framework for the development of an explicit prevention program for the nation (1); the Year 2000 Health Objectives Planning Act* provides legislative support for such a program. To address both the requirements of that act and Objective 22.1 of Healthy People 2000, a consensus set of 18 health status indicators has been developed to assist communities in assessing their general health status and in focusing local, state, and national efforts in tracking the year 2000 objectives (Table 1). Priority in selecting the indicators was given to measures for which data are readily available and that are commonly used in public health.

The set of health status indicators was developed by a committee** established to implement Objective 22.1 through a consensus process involving local, state, and federal health officials and representatives from academic institutions and professional associations. The health status indicators are intended to ensure data comparability and facilitate use by public health agencies at all levels of government. These indicators are not intended to supersede specific measures suggested in Healthy People 2000; however, they will provide a broad indication of the general health status of a community.

In addition to this consensus set of health status indicators, modifications to existing data collection systems have been recommended to emphasize additional measures of outcomes, risk factors, and processes that will be helpful for planning prevention programs devoted to achieving the year 2000 objectives (Table 2). This additional list includes data needs for indicators of selected chronic diseases, access to medical care, and environmental exposures or behavioral risks. Reported by: National Center for Health Statistics; Epidemiology Program Office; National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; Public Health Practice Program Office; Office of the Director, CDC.

Editorial Note

Editorial Note:

The need and rationale for a consensus set of health status indicators has been described previously (1,2). Development of this initial set of indicators involved broad input by policy and technical experts representing all levels of public health practice in the United States.

As public health priorities change and other data sets become available, the list of indicators will be modified through similar public consensus processes. CDC encourages both the immediate adoption of this list of health status indicators in public health practice and the development of the new and/or modified data systems recommended by the committee.


  1. Public Health Service. Healthy people 2000: national health promotion and disease prevention objectives--full report, with commentary. Washington, DC: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1990; DHHS publication no. (PHS)91-50212.

  2. Institute of Medicine. The future of public health. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1988. *Public Law no. 101-582 (42 USC *** 246 (1990)). **Committee members and representations: American Public Health Association--T. Colton, Ph.D., Boston University School of Public Health; D. Rice, Sc.D., University of California, San Francisco. Association of State and Territorial Health Officials--L. Novick, M.D., New York State Department of Health; R. Eckoff, M.D., Iowa Department of Public Health. National Association of County Health Officials--M. Luth, M.P.H., Washington County Health Department; F. Guerra, M.D., San Antonio Health Department. Public Health Foundation--L. Olsen, M.D., Delaware Division of Public Health; O. Shisana, Sc.D., District of Columbia Commission of Public Health. United States Conference of Local Health Officers--R. Biery, M.D., Kansas City Health Department. The committee was convened by CDC.

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