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3601 C Street, Suite 722
Anchorage AK 99503
Fax: 907.269.5446
obesity@alaska.gov

Obesity Prevention and Control Program - Home:

Obesity continues to be a serious health concern in Alaska. In 2017, nearly 18% of students were overweight, an increase since 2013, and 13.7% have obesity. Obese kids are more likely to grow up to be obese adults. Obese children and adults are more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers. Each year, obesity-related medical expenses cost an estimated $459 million in Alaska. About 25 percent of that cost is paid with funds through Medicare and Medicaid programs.

  • The percentage of students who meet the national recommendations for physical activity of 60 minutes every day (18.4% in 2017) has not changed significantly since 2011.
  • Short- and long-term trends show decreasing soda consumption. In 2017, 14.7% of students drank a soda 1 or more times per day, compared to 21.8% in 2007.
  • The percentage of students who drank a sports drink 1 or more times per day also decreased (13.1% in 2015, 10.2% in 2017).
  • These trends do not capture consumption of other sugary drinks. A decrease in overweight and obesity prevalence is not expected until overall consumption of sugary drinks declines for an extended period.
  • Up from 23.4% in 2007, in 2017 40.6% of students now spend 3 or more hours each day (on an average school day) playing video or computer games, or using a computer, smartphone, or tablet for something other than school work.

There is no single strategy that will reduce obesity and its associated health and economic consequences. Meaningful reduction of obesity prevalence will only occur when a set of sustained, comprehensive prevention strategies are implemented by schools, the health care sector, private industry, NGOs, governmental agencies, and individual families.

These strategies will need to address policy issues; alter the environment in which we live, play and eat; modify the systems to make the healthy choice the easy choice; and increase the knowledge and change the behaviors of families, children and individuals. If it takes a village to raise a child, it will take the efforts of the entire state to reverse obesity.

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