Shaping a Vision for 21st Century Health Statistics. The health of populations


Vision discussions to date have noted the rise of chronic illness and the growing prevalence of new and newly recognized communicable diseases as important trends in the health of the American population. Serious disparities exist among people in various groups¾for example, between certain racial and ethnic groups and between economic levels¾in the prevalence and severity of specific diseases and in access to and receipt of appropriate treatment. Additional data are needed at all geographic levels to track new efforts to eliminate the disparities¾a major goal of the HHS Healthy People 2010 objectives.(14)

Knowledge Gaps

To address health trends affecting populations, the following gaps must be filled, among others:

  • Ongoing information¾in all categories¾about small geographic areas such as small towns and urban neighborhoods
  • Information, especially at state and local levels, about specific population groups¾e.g., racial and ethnic minority groups (especially Asian and Hispanic groups), children, the aged, migrants, the working poor and nonworking poor, and people with disabilities
  • Information on individuals related to comorbidity, mental and behavioral health, and health status¾including their functional status with respect to physical abilities and cognitive functioning and their access to devices or other means of assisting their functioning