Improving Health and Well-being in U.S.

In order to meet SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being - by 2030, we must promote healthy lifestyles, preventive measures, and modern, efficient healthcare for everyone. This includes addressing mental health, communicable and non-communicable diseases, access to services, and more.
People Impacted
$ 1.7T
Potential Funding
I have this challenge
the problem
Nature and Context

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3, Good Health and Well-being, aims to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for everyone of all ages.

The Goal covers a wide range of issues including maternal health and child mortality, deaths from road accidents and pollution, as well as mental health and other diseases.

Currently, over 30 million people lack access to affordable health insurance (KFF), 12% of US adults avoid going to the doctor due to cost-related issues (KFF), and 1 in 5 adults have Depression (USAFacts).

Prior to COVID-19, the leading causes of death in the U.S for many years were Heart Disease and Cancer, accounting for 46% of deaths in 2017 (Healthline)

As of January 2021, COVID-19 is the current leading cause of death in the United State (KFF)

Symptoms and Causes

Health in the U.S. can be linked with a range of other issues including food insecurity, unemployment, poverty, and geographic location.

Health Insurance and Costs

Insurance in the U.S. includes Medicaid, Medicare, employer-based, and since 2010 when President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, all Americans have access to health insurance options through a public marketplace (NCBI and Brookings Institute).

Despite standardized education and certification of medical professionals in the U.S., there is tremendous variation in the costs of receiving care across states, and 1 in 8 Adults do not access care when they need it because of cost barriers (KFF).

Mental Health

Before Covid, 19.8% of adults and 9.7% of youth in the U.S. experienced Depression. These numbers have risen significantly since the start of the pandemic (USAFacts and Mental Health America).

Research by Mental Health America also found that 60% of youth who experience depression did not receive any form of treatment, and on over 10% of Americans with a mental illness are uninsured.

Food and the Environment

The amount and type of food a person consumes are closely linked to a range of potential health conditions. Consuming too little or too much, as well as nutrient-poor foods can lead to poor mental and physical development in children, increased risk of disease at all ages, poor mental health, and productivity in adults (read more here).

The environment also plays a large role in determining health. The quality of the air we breath (indoors and outside), the water we drink, and our risk of exposure to chemicals and other waste can be linked directly to respiratory conditions, disease, shorter life expectancies, and more (EPA and Center for Environmental Health).


The Covid-19 pandemic continues to have a devastating impact. Not only have almost 500,000 Americans died directly from the virus, but the prevalence of mental health problems has skyrocketed (CDC and Mental Health America). The pandemic impacts also reach beyond just the health - also increasing the number of people facing economic uncertainty and food insecurity.

Additional Data - Interactive Tool

X4Impact, in partnership with USAFacts, created an interactive tool to highlight some selected health-related indicators.

You can visit this health indicator interactive tool and view health-related statistics nationally or by state. You can also explore active challenges and ideas seeking funding and search through leading technology solutions that address health-related issues in the U.S.

the impact
Negative Effects
  • More than 48,000 American lives are lost to suicide every year - that means there is one death by suicide in the US every 12 minutes. Men, Whites, Alaska Natives, and American Indians are disproportionately affected (SAVE).

  • 60% of young people experiencing depression are not receiving treatment (Mental Health America)

  • A study by Harvard Medical School and Cambridge Health Alliance found that nearly 45,000 deaths occur annually in the U.S. due to lack of healthcare access.

  • With the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression, millions of Americans have lost employer-sponsored health insurance (NASI).

Economic Impact
  • Mental health and substance abuse disorders cost the U.S. $187.8 billion annually, $71 billion of which is spent on depression (The APA).

  • A recent study out of Harvard estimates that the coronavirus pandemic will cost the nation at least $16 trillion by the fall of 2021.

Success Metrics

The United Nations has defined 13 Targets and 28 Indicators to track progress towards reaching SDG 3 (SDG Tracker) including:

  • The number of new infections of communicable diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, Malaria, and Hepatitis B

  • The mortality rates of non-communicable diseases, with particular attention on cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and suicide

  • Substance abuse and alcohol consumption rates

  • Amount of road and pollution-related deaths

  • Access to family planning services, reproductive health services, and affordable healthcare

who benefits from solving this problem
Organization Types

The 30M+ people without insurance in the US benefit from addressing health coverage and 1 in 8 Americans who currently don't access care because of costs benefit from addressing affordable healthcare. Millions of adults will also benefit from solutions to the mental health crisis, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Technology solutions created to help to address issues related to health and wellbeing would benefit:

  • Hospitals and other healthcare providers

  • Health-related nonprofits

  • Addiction support and recovery programs

  • Healthcare affordability programs and organizations

  • Decent work-related programs and organizations

  • Federal and Local Government

  • Global and public health organizations

  • Hospitals

  • Healthcare Providers

  • Insurance Providers

financial insights
Current Funding

According to data aggregated by X4Impact from the Security and Exchange Commission filings, since Q1 of 2019, $8.5B of private funding has been invested in companies working to create tech-based solutions addressing health and well-being in the U.S.

In addition to that, there are at least $460M in government grants plus the $311B in income reported by non-hospital nonprofits working to ensure good health and well-being.

Potential Solution Funding

Based on data from over 600,000 tax returns filed by nonprofits in the US (data via X4Impact), on an average year, over 47,000 nonprofit organizations (43,047 excluding hospitals) deploy $959B ($311B) in the U.S. to address health-related issues.

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