Mortality rate from heart disease decreasing in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. - Studies show North Dakota is ranked number one in the country when it comes to decreasing the mortality rate from heart disease.

Dave Ukestad is an exercise physiologist and cardiac rehab professional. He believes the reason things are improving is because healthcare has moved in a direction where exercise is a form of medicine and more people are participating in it.

“Exercise is going to help people with all issues, with cardiac disease, to diabetes, to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and physicians are definitely encouraging it and it’s just been an overall good thing in general, for people to do,” said Ukestad.

Dietician Samantha Risan says she believes more parents are passing down better health habits to their children.

“I think one of the reasons why heart disease has declined in North Dakota is because a lot of people are taking the preventative approach, taking that more serious, as well as making lifestyle changes,” said Risan.

Risan says more parents are encouraging their children to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day and snacking on healthier options like fruits and vegetables, which could also lead to this decrease of heart disease.