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National Health Goals Stress Preventive Measures

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Washington--The U.S. Public Health Service has unveiled a final set of ambitious national goals designed to improve the health of all children and their parents by the year 2000.

Like the draft copy of the goals released last fall, the final set of objectives calls for lowering the infant-mortality rate to no more than 7 deaths per 1,000 live births; decreasing the percentage of adolescents who use drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; reducing the percentage of teenagers who engage in sexual intercourse; and increasing the percentage of students who receive health-, physical-, and aids-education classes.

The final 298 objectives, released by Secretary of Health and Human Services Louis W. Sullivan at a conference here last week, vary only slightly from the the proposed na4tional health goals released for public comment last fall. (See Education Week, Oct. 18, 1989.)

During the past year, more than 250 national organizations have helped develop the final goals, which emphasize preventive measures and healthy lifestyle choices. The final set of objectives is an outgrowth of goals for 1990 established by the health service in 1980. Although progress has been made in4p8achieving some of the earlier goals, many of the objectives have not been met, the report acknowledges.

To promote the new goals, especially among at-risk population groups, hhs has awarded grants to nine national membership organizations. The American Association of School Administrators was awarded a grant to spearhead these efforts in the education community.

Among the goals in the final version of the report that have been changed or added since last fall are:

Ensuring that at least 75 percent of schools offer a comprehensive K-12 health-education curriculum. The original document said 50 percent.

Recommending that all disadvantaged children have access to high quality preschool programs in order to improve their academic performance and health status. Lastel10lfall's version said that at least 80 percent of these children should be enrolled in preschool programs.

Ensuring that at least 90 percent of students graduate from high school. The original document called for reducing the dropout rate to 8 percent. The language in the new report echoes the national education goals advanced by the Bush Administration and the nation's governors.

Including information about sexually transmitted diseases in the curricula of all middle and secondary schools. This goal was not included in the original report.

Reducing to 500,000 the number of children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years who have blood lead levels that exceed 15 micrograms per million. The draft goals stipulated that no more than 1 million children should have this blood lead level.--ef

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