Healthy North Dakota: Content: Explore North Dakota


North Dakotans enjoy an outstanding quality of life due to our safe communities, quality healthcare, world-class recreational activities and exceptional schools. Our people and our land are our greatest resources, and we continue to build on these strengths.

Healthy Communities

Moving More Eating BetterThe Moving More, Eating Smarter (MMES) Communities Program links seventeen recognized community coalitions who are working to encourage North Dakotans to move more on most days of the week and to make smart choices from every food group. Formerly known as the 5 + 5 Communities Program, the MMES program celebrated 11 years in 2009. Hats off to community coalitions in Barnes County, Bismarck, Cavalier County, Fargo, Fort Berthold/New Town area, Grand Forks, Jamestown, Minot, Morton County, Nelson/Griggs/Steele Counties, Richland County, Rolette County, the South Central Coalition, the Southwest/Dickinson area coalition, Walsh County, the West River/Hettinger area, and Williston! For a complete list of the coalitions and their contacts, click here.

Overall Health

North Dakota ranks eigth in the United Health Foundation’s America’s Health: State Health Rankings 2007 report. North Dakota ranks first with the lowest violent crime rate and fewest infectious disease cases. In addition, the state ranks in the top 10 for its strong high school graduation rate, low cancer death rate and low premature death rate. The report also lists the state’s challenges, including high prevalence of obesity and predicts that "the overall healthiness of the state may decline over time" due to lower rates of indicators for what determines our health. The 2007 report is available on the United Health Foundation website:  

Child Health and Well-being

North Dakota ranks 9th out of 50 states in measures of child health and well-being according to the national 2006 KIDS COUNT Data Book published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Areas in which our state ranked well were lowest teenage high school dropout rate in the nation, decreases in low-birth weight babies, infant deaths, percentage of children in single-parent households, and number of children living in poverty. Read more about North Dakota’s rankings.

Healthy North Dakota and its network of partners are working to help North Dakota’s children grow to be as healthy and productive as possible through efforts to reduce childhood obesity and improve nutrition and physical activity. A summary of efforts in Let's Move! America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids –  Healthy North Dakota’s Efforts (pdf)

Clean Air

North Dakota is one of only a handful of states that meet all National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Monitoring levels of air pollution at various locations throughout the state consistently shows compliance with all national and state air quality standards. Learn more about North Dakota’s air quality programs.

Clean Water

Water, a precious resource, greatly influences our lives through its uses in public health, economic development, power production, agriculture, recreation, and business and industries. The health, comfort and quality of life for North Dakota’s citizens depend on an ample supply of safe, high-quality drinking water. Learn more about North Dakota’s water quality.

Health Challenges

While continuing to build on our strengths, we are also working to overcome the challenges North Dakotans face as a result of risky behaviors.

  • 65% of North Dakotans have at least 2 risk factors for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and 22% of us have 3 CVD risk factors (CVD risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, overweight, inadequate physical activity, and inadequate intake of fruits and vegetables);
  • The prevalence of obesity in ND doubled between 1990 and 2004 (increasing from 12% to 24%)
  • 53% of adults don’t engage in adequate physical activity
Learn more about health status indicators in North Dakota.

Learn more about the diseases and risk factors that affect North Dakotans including influenza, smoking, diabetes, obesity, binge drinking, physical inactivity, arthritis and high blood pressure in the series, Healthy North Dakota Highlights.

In order to be healthy, people need access to healthful food, and for that reason Healthy North Dakota is a member of the Creating a Hunger Free North Dakota (CHFND) coalition. The CHFND coalition has developed a plan that details efforts to meet the needs of North Dakotans underserved by hunger relief efforts in the state. The plan's main goals are to recover food that might otherwise go to waste, distribute food to where it is needed, build capacity of pantry, soup kitchen and shelter providers to accept and distribute more food, and ensure that those who don’t have enough to eat can access food. A summary of the plan and additional information may be viewed at: 

Healthy North Dakota is working to prevent the risky behaviors that cause or increase chances of developing disease. This focus on wellness will:

  • make us a healthier population
  • lower our health care costs
  • improve our quality of life