The Health & Human Services Dept. proposes changes to the “Healthy People 2020” guidance to better focus health and disease prevention efforts on helping children with ADHD and new moms who experience postpartum depressive symptoms.
Public Comment Deadline: Nov. 4.
The HHS Healthy People guidance provides a comprehensive set of national health promotion and objectives aimed to improve the nation’s health. Focus areas include adolescent health, maternal, infant and child health and middle childhood health. The Healthy People 2020 objectives establish goals and targets to be achieved by the year 2020. The new objectives were developed by topic area workgroups led by various agencies within the federal government, according to a Federal Register notice.
The new Maternal, Infant, and Child Health (MICH) objective is proposed in response to past public comments. Postpartum depression is a serious condition linked to problems with marital relationships, mother-child bonding, infant behavior and development, and quality of life among new mothers. Estimates of the prevalence of postpartum depression range from 7% to 24% with the highest prevalence in lower socioeconomic groups.
The Healthy People 2020 MICH workgroup reviewed possible indicators because a diagnosis of postpartum depression involves the administration of a lengthy instrument by a qualified professional. Additionally, only half of depressed pregnant and non-pregnant women of reproductive age are diagnosed and treated for depression. However, brief validated screening instruments are available and the group proposes to add a new objective to track the proportion of women delivering a live birth who experience postpartum depressive symptoms with these stream-lined questionnaires.
Early Childhood Health
The workgroup also recommended goals to increase the proportion of children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who receive recommended treatment. ADHD is a problem of not being able to focus, being overactive, not being able control behavior, or a combination of all these symptoms. The workgroup also suggested new objectives to increase the proportion of children aged 4-17 years diagnosed with ADHD who receive behavioral treatment.