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Obesity in Alaska

Alaska is a big state with a big problem. About one in every three Alaska kids is overweight or obese. Obesity impacts their health and well-being, and it costs our state millions of dollars each year.

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.

In Alaska, problems with excess weight start early. Between 27 and 40 percent of Alaska’s children are overweight or obese. And that’s not all.

  • 40% of 2 to 4-year-old children enrolled in the Women, Infants and Children program are above a healthy weight
  • 32% of kindergarten and first grade children entering the Anchorage School District are above a healthy weight
  • 36% of kindergarten through 12th grade students in the Anchorage School District are above a healthy weight
  • 26% of Alaska high school students are overweight or obese

Alaska children need more time for physical activity and less time in front of televisions and computers. A 2013 survey of Alaska high school students showed that less than a quarter met the minimum guidelines for physical activity:

  • 16% of Alaska students attended daily physical education classes
  • 21% of students met the physical activity recommendation of 60 minutes every day
  • 54% of students spent three or more hours in front of a screen every day, doing non-school related viewing

Together we can fix this. Find out the steps you and your family can take to help your kids grow up healthy and happy.