The state health department says the percentage of overweight and obese students in the Anchorage School District declined from 38 percent to 36 percent during the past eight school years.
While the change from the 2002-03 to the 2010-11 school year is small, the department says it is statistically significant. Andrea Fenaughty, the department epidemiologist who conducted the study, says it means the decline is unlikely due to chance.
Alaska's chief medical officer, Ward Hurlburt, says he's encouraged by the findings. He says the school district implemented important changes. He says his department also is tackling the obesity issue.
The department says during the study, the district banned sale of junk food and soda in schools, adopted a wellness policy and increased the time provided for elementary physical education each week.