Millennials are not as healthy as you might think, according to a new study out from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association on Wednesday. For older millennials in Massachusetts, the rate of depression is among the highest in the country. Dr. Katherine Dallow is the vice president of clinical programs and strategy at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. She spoke with WGBH All Things Considered anchor Barbara Howard about the study. This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Barbara Howard: Well let's get down to it. Millennials are those people who are turning roughly 23 to 38 years old this year, those who were born between 1981 and 1996. Nationally, your report found double digit increases in eight of the top 10 health conditions in millennials. The study found a 22 percent increase in Type 2 diabetes and a 16 percent increase in high blood pressure. What's this all about? Is it about diet or stress or what?

Dr. Katherine Dallow: So I think all of the results are, first of all, astonishing, and second of all, highly likely to be multifactorial. And you touched on the two that happened to be medically-based diagnoses, diabetes and hypertension, which we typically see in folks that are much older. The other aspects of the study that were quite shocking were the increases in mental health disorders such as major depression and anxiety.

Howard: Yeah, we saw a 31 percent increase in major depression and a 29 percent increase in hyperactivity. The Boston area is pretty well known for a high number of mental health care providers. Is it possible that these conditions are being disproportionately diagnosed and that skews the results of your study?

Kallow: It is absolutely likely that it's a contributing factor. We have more behavioral health professionals per capita than any other state in the nation. We also have had a history of having more people with health insurance in our state. So we've had people with health care coverage who also have the ability to access those providers.

Howard: But still, a 31 percent increase in major depression. That sounds pretty alarming.

Kallow: It is alarming, and that's one of the reasons we don't believe that access or diagnosis is the single factor. There really have to be many factors contributing to this. We have been thinking about this ever since the study came out, and there are likely coinciding issues with the use of technology and alienation. We know that people who are on devices and using technology more frequently are likely to be more sedentary. There's also a high proportion of millennials in this area. There's student loans, economic stresses, and high cost of living, all of which can contribute to financial stressors.

Howard: Colleagues I spoke with who are millennials talked about stress over money, especially student debt, and the cost of living in the Boston area. And then I talked to a Baby Boomers colleague of mine, talking to his millennial daughter, and saying that she prefers that he text to her rather than talk to her. The human species has always relied on face-to-face communication. Is this lack of human contact — the human voice, eye-to-eye — a contributing factor?

Kallow: I absolutely believe it is. These are correlations at the moment, but I would find it very hard to believe that that is not a contributing factor. I think we definitely are at risk of losing some of those basic human social connections that can be very gratifying.

Howard: So how does Massachusetts stack up against other states in your Blue Cross Blue Shield study?

Kallow: Millennials in their mid-30s, especially in Massachusetts, are more likely than peers across the country to have behavioral health conditions. And it's noted in the study that there are only seven states nationally that fare worse as far as those statistics.

Howard: Is there anything else that jumps out at you from this study?

Kallow: Well I think it's important also to think about the possible connections between the increased incidence of mental health disorders and the medical conditions that you mentioned, such as Type 2 diabetes and hypertension. It's reasonable to assume that the two are related in some way. And I do think the increased use of technology and what we know about social interactions and human behavior, with the increase of technology, is people are becoming more sedentary again. So I have to believe that the medical and the behavioral health conditions are related.

Howard: That's Dr. Katherine Dallow, vice president of clinical programs and strategy at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is out with a new study showing that Millennials across the country, and particularly in Massachusetts, are dealing with a rising rate of health issues, both physical and psychological.