March 22, 2016
Karol Fink, DHSS, Obesity Prevention & Control Program Manager: (907) 269-3457, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Luczycki, DHSS Public Information: (907) 269-3495, email@example.com
Heidi Embley, ASD Chief Communications Officer: (907) 742-4158, firstname.lastname@example.org
Myer Hutchinson, MOA Communications Director: (907) 343-7100, hutchinsonMS@muni.org
ANCHORAGE — A national public health foundation recognized Anchorage today as one of four communities nationwide that reduced its childhood obesity rates. Obesity rates among Anchorage School District elementary and middle school students declined by 2.2% between the 2003–04 and 2010–11 school years, due to coordinated efforts among the school district, the Municipality of Anchorage and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS).
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today released the results of the Childhood Obesity Declines project from the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research. The project studied four U.S. communities — Anchorage, Alaska; New York City; Granville County, NC; and Philadelphia, PA — to better understand the strategies these communities used to reduce childhood obesity.
In the years following the study, obesity rates among Anchorage students have not increased since 2011, however community partners agree the collective efforts must continue to further decrease obesity rates. Many Anchorage children remain at increased risk for weight-related health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
“Childhood obesity is a serious health concern in Alaska, and about 1 out of 3 children in this state is overweight or obese,” said Karol Fink, the DHSS Obesity Prevention and Control Program manager. “This report shows that a broad set of policies applied by a large group of partners over a period of time can affect health behaviors and reduce childhood obesity rates.”
The report highlights a number of strategies and collaborations that likely contributed to the decline in childhood obesity seen in Anchorage between 2003-04 and 2010-11.
At the Anchorage School District, the wellness team made the following changes:
At the same time, the Municipality of Anchorage’s Task Force on Obesity and Health put several efforts in place, including:
“This report highlights that when we work together, we get things done. We must combine our efforts to continue reducing childhood obesity,” stated Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.
Today, the effort to reduce childhood obesity in Anchorage continues in several ways:
“The Anchorage School District is dedicated to reducing childhood obesity, and we look forward to continued collaboration with the state, the municipality and other groups in Anchorage that share our commitment to the health of Anchorage children,” said ASD Superintendent Ed Graff.
Please join us for the official release of this report:
Discussion of the RWJF report results:
Signs of Progress in Childhood Obesity Declines
Tuesday, March 22, 2016, 11:00 a.m.
Scenic Park Elementary School
(opportunity for b-roll of ASD students in health class and in PE class)
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz
Ed Graff, Anchorage School District Superintendent
Melanie Sutton, ASD Health and Physical Education Coordinator
Dr. Jay Butler, DHSS Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health
Karol Fink, DHSS Obesity Prevention and Control Program Manager
Dick Traini and Elvi Gray-Jackson, Chair and Vice Chair of Anchorage Assembly