In Anchorage, the school district is getting some extra dollars to try to tackle the issue of obesity in students.

The Anchorage School Board is slated to accept a $50,000 grant from the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to support obesity prevention activities for students. The funding builds on money awarded to the district last year to participate in the K-12 Obesity Prevention School District Partnership

As far as the new installment, school board president Starr Marsett says it will be used to promote both physical education and proper nutrition. 

"We're developing a website that can be used for parents or students or whoever to look at those things. We also are educating our teachers and staff on the latest equipment and things that they can do in the classroom to help fight obesity," Marsett said. 

Marsett says some of the money will also be used to hire people to help maintain the grant. 

"They also look to make sure that we are following those guidelines and checking in with our schools," Marsett said.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 20% of Alaska students in kindergarten through seventh grade are considered obese. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services finds that one in three high school students are overweight or obese.

According to Marsett, the school board is also looking at adopting policies on food brought in to school, aimed at incentivizing healthy treats in the classroom. 

"We have our student stores, and we're looking at trying to convert those into healthy snack stations," Marsett said.

It's a collaborative effort, Marsett said.

"The whole school, the district, the school board, everyone is looking at this — I won't say crisis, but this issue of obesity in our schools and how can we be more proactive."

This year, ASD also launched a wellness initiative at 21 elementary schools, which includes longer periods for lunch and recess. 

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