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NDSU, Blue Cross Blue Shield release study on North Dakota's health and well-being

Dave Thompson

The Blue Cross-Blue Shield of North Dakota Caring Foundation, and the Center for Social Research at NDSU, have released a study on the health and well-being in North Dakota.

The study looks at the social determinants of health – the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age in North Dakota.

"We do well in some areas; not so well in others," said NDSU Center for Social Research director Nancy Hodur. She said economically, North Dakota is doing well. But Hodur said one area where the state doesn’t do so well is in the area of early childhood education.

"We only have about a third of our three and four year olds who are enrolled in early childhood education," Hodur said. "That's the lowest percentage in the country — the national average is 50 percent."

Hodur said she hopes the results of the study will help groups who work in those areas to make an impact with policy-makers and the public. And she said an important takeaway is it’s not just one thing, and all of the issues are inter-related.

"Health and well-being is much more than just being able to see the doctor," Hodur said.

Blue Cross-Blue Shield president Dan Conrad is also the chair of the Caring Foundation. He said going forward, the foundation wants to build a data-driven foundation for further conversations about health and well-being.

"That's to drive alignment of understanding and opportunities to invest — whether it be from the state, from us as a mission-driven health care organization, and other stakeholders across the state — we find the best places to invest, and create opportunities for better health for all," Conrad said.

The Foundation hosted a roundtable discussion in Bismarck. Another roundtable is scheduled for Fargo next week.

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