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Childhood obesity is one of the leading public health threats facing Alaska today.

Too many of Alaska’s kids are growing up at an unhealthy weight. They do not get enough physical activity. They drink too many sugary beverages. They are suffering the consequences. Obese children today suffer from serious conditions that used to occur only in adulthood, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Play Every Day is working with partners across Alaska to improve the healthy options Alaska families have to eat and drink and support families in being more physically active.

  • One out of three Alaska children is overweight or obese.1
  • Two out of three Alaska adults are overweight or obese.1
  • Being overweight or obese increases the risk for adults and children of weight-related chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.2

Childhood obesity is a significant health problem across the country.

  • Nationally, the rate of childhood obesity has almost doubled in the past 20 years, from 10% percent to 17%.3
  • Children today may be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents because of weight-related, preventable diseases,4 including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
  • In Alaska, the direct medical costs for obesity have reached close to half a billion dollars each year. One-fourth of these costs are paid with public dollars.5

Play Every Day and its partners are working to ensure every Alaska child has the opportunity to grow up at a healthy weight, free from preventable weight-related diseases.


1. Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Alaska Obesity Facts Report. Anchorage, Alaska: Section of Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Public Health, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services; October 2017. Available at: http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Chronic/Documents/Obesity/pubs/2017AlaskaObesityFacts.pdf

2. Institutes of Medicine. http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2013/Educating-the-Student-Body-Taking-Physical-Activity-and-Physical-Education-to-School/Report-Brief052313.aspx

3. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Lawman HG, et al. Trends in Obesity Prevalence Among Children and Adolescents in the United States, 1988-1994 Through 2013-2014. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2016;315(21)2292-2299. Available online: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2526638

4. Olshansky SJ, Passaro DJ, Hershow RC, et al. A Potential Decline in Life Expectancy in the United States in the 21st Century. N Engl J Med 2005; 352:1138-1145 March 17, 2005DOI: 10.1056/NEJMsr043743.

5. Trogdon JG, Finkelstein EA, Feagan CW, Cohen JW. State- and payer-specific estimates of annual medical expenditures attributable to obesity. Obesity 2012;20(1):214-220. ​