Alaska Adventists Walk Against the Bulge

December 01, 2011 | Ephraim Palmero

Church members and friends from across Alaska joined hands to walk the main business avenues of downtown Anchorage Sept. 25 as a public declaration that America's interest in raising a healthier generation of youth should be the top lifestyle goal of every family.

The five-mile walk was the culminating event for the Alaska Youth Summit weekend that staged the Let's Move! campaign, a comprehensive initiative launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to solve the problem of obesity within a generation. The campaign's goal is that children born today will grow up healthier and be able to pursue their dreams.

A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, examining obesity on a region-by-region basis, indicates that Alaska is the most overweight state this side of Texas. Figures show obesity rates are 30 percent or higher in nearly half of Alaska's boroughs and census areas. The Juneau Empire reports that Alaska's overall obesity rate puts the state just above the national average and ranks it 22nd heaviest nationwide.

The obesity epidemic has hit children as well as adults. As a preoccupation with television, video games and social media has led the current generation of youth to be less active, less sociable and uninterested in outdoor recreation, Let's Move! seeks to change this trend.

Participants in the walk also showed their support for Enditnow, a global campaign by Adventists to raise the awareness of and advocate for the end of violence against women and girls worldwide, by wearing Let's Move! shirts with Enditnow logos added.

"When we declare publicly our social values that develop healthy attitudes and address physical injustice, our faith-based community is investing in social capital," says Jean Gobah, Alaska Conference women's ministries director.