Rate Decline: Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage reported a 5.4% decline in the overweight and obesity rates among children in grades K, 1, 3, 5 and 7 from 2004 to 2014.

Obesity-related medical care costs Alaska about $459 million every year. But for more than a decade, both the state as a whole, and particularly the municipality of Anchorage, have made concerted efforts to help children and families lead healthier lives. Some of the key efforts have included:

  • Releasing major city and state reports between 2003 and 2006 that put the issue of childhood obesity on the public agenda and provided a roadmap for action;
  • Adopting a wellness policy during the 2005-06 school year that promoted healthy eating and physical activity in the districts serving the Anchorage metropolitan area;
  • Awarding one of the two school districts serving the Anchorage metropolitan area with an obesity prevention grant to improve school nutrition and physical activity;
  • Expanding the student weight status surveillance system used for the Anchorage metropolitan area to six additional school districts to monitor obesity trends, inform prevention efforts and track progress;
  • Expanding universal school breakfast at all schools serving lower-income students;
  • Supporting a statewide public education campaign, Play Every Day, that motivates Alaska families to be physically active and reduce consumption of sugary drinks;
  • Partnering with Healthy Futures to expand a free elementary school physical activity challenge to more than 18,000 students in almost 200 schools statewide, including almost all schools in the Anchorage metropolitan area;
  • Working with community leaders to establish Anchorage as a Let’s Move City; and
  • Making healthy, local foods more affordable by initiating and supporting the Farmers’ Market-Quest Card Program that enables Alaskans to use Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits at farmers’ markets, several of which are in the Anchorage metropolitan area.

A boy tends to plants in a greenhouse in Anchorage, Alaska.

A mother and son riding on greenway trail in Anchorage, Alaska.

The state also participated in a research effort to understand the types of policies and strategies that may have influenced the reported declines in childhood obesity.

Two boys shop for fresh fruit at a grocery store in Anchorage, Alaska.

A young girl runs on a trail in a park in Anchorage, Alaska.


Alaska Obesity Prevention and Control: Student Weight Status: Anchorage Metropolitan Area

Originally posted on June 23, 2016.