Childhood Obesity Addressed by Healthy Futures Challenge
ANCHORAGE - Three out of ten children in Alaska are considered overweight or obese, according to the state's health department.
It's a staggering statistic health officials are shedding light on as part of National Public Health Week that will focus on different aspects of health all week long. Today we begin with obesity prevention.
Exercise is what we all remember doing as a kid. And it's what state health officials say we need to be doing more of to fight obesity, starting with Alaska’s youth.
“People that are obese are at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and some cancers,” said Karol Fink of the Obesity Prevention and Control Program.
For the past two months more than 5,000 K-6 students from across the state have been participating in the Healthy Futures Challenge, a program that encourages children to get out and play.
“Elementary school is an age where children, especially in the upper elementary grades, make a decision in their minds whether they're going to be physically active or not.” said Tasha Bergt, a physical education teacher. “It’s really important to just talk about the diversity of different ways to find pleasure in recreation and exercise, and to expose kids to really broad spectrum of activities.”
Health officials say it's a movement everyone needs to be involved in to help put the next generation of Alaskans on a healthy path.
The state spends $459 million every year to treat medical conditions associated with obesity.
In our next installment, we show you how college students are getting involved in the fight against tobacco use in the state… one of the leading causes of cancer.