State Appropriations Funding | Nutrition & Health
Alaska | University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service | West Region
Nutrition educators reach thousands of Alaskans and help improve food choices, boost safe handling and increase physical activity.
Childhood obesity is a major concern in Alaska, as elsewhere. In 2011, 65 percent of Alaskan adults were overweight or obese. A 2013 State of Alaska report says that 26 percent of Alaska high school students were overweight or obese. Helping parents and students learn about better nutrition and eating habits is essential to combating obesity in youth and in adults.
Nutrition educators presented USDA-approved curricula and activities in single and multipart programs in 15 classrooms in Fairbanks, Bethel, Tok, Palmer and Anchorage. Adults in those communities also received nutrition education. Agents provided information on healthy eating to children's agencies, schools and other community audiences. Other programs emphasized adding vegetables, shopping and making healthy foods such as whole wheat bread and yogurt.
Nutrition educators with the SNAP-Ed Program presented nutrition education programs that reached 2,246 youth and 2,117 adults. Of those youth, 289 completed a multipart series. Overall, 86 percent of the youth participating in the series (185 out of 214) showed that they improved their ability to choose foods according to federal dietary recommendations. Forty-five percent (94 of 210) used safe food handling practices more often, and 42 percent (87 of 209) improved their physical activity practices or gained knowledge. Of the 25 adults who graduated from the multipart program, 67 percent showed improvement in one or more nutrition practices. They planned meals, made healthy food choices, prepared food without adding salt, read nutrition labels or had children eat breakfast. Fifty-eight percent of participants showed improvement in one or more food resource management practices, such as comparing prices, using grocery lists or planning meals.