Healthy North Carolina 2020 is a health improvement plan for our state. It addresses a wide range of issues that impact our health, such as tobacco use, physical activity and nutrition, mental health, and injury and violence. Optimal goals have been established in each of these areas, with a 2020 deadline for achieving them.
So where does North Carolina currently stand? Out of the 40 original health goals, we’ve achieved 3 of them, 13 have improved but are not at the set target, 21 have gotten worse, 2 were not updated, and 1 remained the same. To illustrate, we successfully reduced the rate of new HIV infections and increased the percentage of children aged 1-5 years enrolled in Medicaid and receiving dental care. However, the needle moved in the wrong direction in some of the target areas, such as the percentage of individuals living in poverty; the percentage of adults reporting good, very good, or excellent health; and the rate of mental health-related visits to emergency departments.
Changes in data collection, methodology and reporting over time make it difficult to compare and contrast data or to establish solid trends. Nevertheless, the 2013 Annual Data Report, released in March of this year, offers a general snapshot of the health of our citizens, which can be used to create a plan of action at the local and state levels. To read the entire report, click here. It’s listed as one of the highlights on the right-hand side of the page.