Health targets state, for a given population, the amount of change (using a health indicator) which could be reasonably expected within a defined time period. Targets are generally based on specific and measurable changes in health outcomes, or intermediate health outcomes.
Reference: new definition
Health targets define the concrete steps which may be taken towards the achievement of health goals. Setting targets also provides one approach to the assessment of progress in relation to a defined health policy or programme by defining a benchmark against which progress can be measured. Setting targets requires the existence of a relevant health indicator and information on the distribution of that indicator within a population of interest. It also requires an estimate of current and likely future trends in relation to change in the distribution of the indicator, and an understanding of the potential to change the distribution of the indicator in the population of interest.