Chronic Disease Report highlight’s Alaska’s health needs

Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 9:03 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Alaska Department of Health released its annual report on chronic illnesses in our state, and the 2023 brief indicated that a high number of Alaskans are living with chronic health conditions.

These are led by high blood pressure, which affects 31 percent of Alaskans; high cholesterol, affecting 27 percent; and arthritis, affecting 24 percent. The two most common causes of death in Alaska are cancer and heart disease.

The report also highlights that 53 percent of Alaskan high school students do not attend physical education class, and 49 percent drink one or more sugary drinks per day. 30 percent are considered overweight or obese. This can have definite negative impacts down the road, as 68 percent of Alaskan adults are considered overweight or obese. Additionally, 21 percent of Alaskans report no physical activity during an average day.

Preventative care can be key to controlling the onset of chronic illness, so remember to see your doctor regularly for cancer screenings, blood sugar tests, and all recommended health screenings.

The report indicates that four healthy lifestyle factors in particular, never smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and following a healthy diet are linked to as much as an 80 percent reduction in the chances of developing chronic diseases.

The full report can be found on the State of Alaska Government website.