Primary Prevention Focus Areas
Healthy People, an ongoing initiative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is a set of nationwide health-promotion and disease-prevention goals for the upcoming decade. The current report, Healthy People 2020, contains 467 separate indicators of the health of the country. A small subset of indicators, called Primary Prevention Focus Areas, serves as the roadmap American Indian/Alaska Native communities need for assessing current health status, designing and implementing programs to improve health, and evaluating the effectiveness of these programs.
Criteria for selection of the Primary Prevention Focus Areas are:
- Relevance and importance to all communities.
- Preventive health measures can be implemented by individuals and communities.
- The intervention is measurable, allowing for evaluation of effectiveness.
The IHS National Diabetes Program (NDP) was established in 1979 in response to the epidemic of type 2 diabetes in Indian communities. The IHS NDP develops, documents, and sustains a public health effort to prevent and control diabetes in AI/AN people.
Nutrition plays an integral part in many of our most prevalent diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, cancers, and osteoporosis. IHS works to improve the health of patients with nutrition-related diseases, and to prevent these illnesses in future generations through interventions in schools, community health programs, and hospital and clinic-based services.
Two in five AI/AN children are overweight compared to just one in five children in the general population. IHS works to engage IHS Areas, local health facilities, and tribal communities to develop long-range, culturally competent, multidisciplinary, effective overweight and obesity treatments and preventative interventions for the diverse AI/AN population.
For more information on obesity prevention, visit the Healthy Weight for Life website.
Physical Activity and Exercise
Regular physical activity, including exercise, is critical for the health and well being of people of all ages. Virtually everyone can benefit from regular physical activity, whether vigorous exercise or moderate health-enhancing physical activities.
Tobacco Prevention and Cessation
Use of tobacco products is one of the leading causes of preventable death nationwide and is a major problem in AI/AN communities. IHS supports prevention of smoking and other tobacco use.