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Survey: Alaskans speak out about their biggest health concerns

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Posted: Monday, December 17, 2012 12:18 am

FAIRBANKS — Alcohol abuse, cost of health care and weight issues topped the issues Alaskans are most concerned about, according to the recently completed Healthy Alaskans 2020 survey.

The results of the survey, which was conducted in October, and released earlier this month are part of an state effort to improve the overall health and wellness of Alaska residents by 2020.

In addition to the top three issues, the 1,500 Alaskans who took part in the survey also listed substance abuse, violence, community safety, quality of life and well-being, sexual and reproductive practices, chronic disease and education as top concerns. 

Throughout the survey that was taken online by respondents throughout the state, obesity and alcohol abuse topped the list as major concerns. 

Respondents were also particularly worried about access to healthy food, recreational activity, safe places to walk or bike and access to clean water.

The results from the survey will be used in crafting upcoming health programs. 

The next survey period begins on Jan. 15, 2013, and will be available at ha.2020.alaska.gov.

Survey results:

Health impacts respondents are most concerned about:

Mental health —16.3 percent

Drugs or alcohol-related deaths — 15.1 percent

Poor health or death resulting from overweight or obesity —12.3 percent

Health-related quality of life —12.2 percent

Suicide —11.5 percent

Access to care topics respondents are most concerned about:

Ability to pay for health care — 39.2 percent

Having a regular health care provider nearby — 12.9 percent

Physical environmental topics respondents are most concerned about:

Access to healthy foods (including in schools) — 20.6 percent

Access to recreational activity and physical activity (including in schools) — 19.1 percent

Availability of safe places to walk and bike — 15.6 percent          

Access to clean water and wastewater services — 9.4 percent

Healthy behaviors that respondents are most concerned about: 

Overweight and obesity — 15.4 percent

Heavy drinking — 9.6 percent

Illegal drug use — 7.4 percent

Social, economic factors respondents are most concerned about:

Individuals and families living in poverty — 11.5 percent

Having enough household income — 11.0 percent

People driving while intoxicated — 10.2 percent

Child maltreatment — 8.4 percent

Contacts staff writer Matt Buxton at 459-7544.

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