GVSU's 2020 Health Check identifies rising behavioral health risks

Jan 13, 2020

Grand Valley State University
Credit Grand Valley State University

Keeping tabs on health trends impacting residents in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Allegan Counties, Grand Valley State University has released its 2020 Health Check report. WGVU breaks down some of its findings.

In its 11th year, Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business has been tracking health trend data critical when businesses, health care, and higher education organizations map out health-related policies and decision-making.

Sebastian Linde is Assistant Professor of Economic and co-author of the 2020 Health Check. He firsts looks at behavioral risk factors like smoking and obesity.

“What we highlight this year, in terms of obesity, is that we continue to see roughly 30 percent of our population, both on the west and the east side of the state, being obese. This is being classified as having a BMI of 30 or above.”

Include people who are considered overweight and that’s two-thirds of the population. It’s data that can be used for targeting the issue and related health issues like diabetes and depression.

“Areas where it is manageable to have an intervention and to reduce obesity and to reduce smoking rates and with that have long-term consequences that year-over-year might save money in terms of health care costs and might improve the quality of life for individuals.”

For the first time the Health Check tracks opioid prescription rates. Here, while the rate has declined significantly since 2013, overdose death rates from all drugs has remained steady across the KOMA region.

Patrick Center, WGVU News.