Alaskans have lost more than 10,000 pounds through free Fresh Start weight loss program

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Fresh Start – Free Programs for Better Health

Alaskans have lost more than 10,000 pounds through free Fresh Start weight loss program

OCTOBER 25, 2023 — Alaskans enrolled in the free Fresh Start weight loss program have lost more than 10,600 pounds to date.


"I have lost 25 pounds. It feels amazing and I just cannot believe that I've accomplished it." — Lori from Anchorage, AK

That’s a significant amount of weight lost by almost 1,575 Alaskans who’ve participated in that free online program during the past four years, said Jessica Downes, a nurse consultant with the Alaska Department of Health. If you think like an Alaskan,10,600 pounds is the weight of about 35 barrels of oil flowing through Alaska’s pipelines. Losing weight has helped many Alaska adults feel better now, meet personal health goals, and prevent and manage many chronic diseases for a lifetime, Downes said.


"The program goes with me wherever I go."

A year ago in December 2022, Alaska’s new Fresh Start campaign started promoting a number of existing free programs for better health, including this program to lose weight. That’s when participation in these health improvement programs started increasing significantly. Since the campaign launched 10 months ago, more than 1,800 Alaskans have joined free online programs to lose weight, lower blood sugar to prevent or manage diabetes, or lower blood pressure.


One of those Alaskans is Lori, a mother of three who joined the program at age 55. She lives most of the year in Anchorage but spends her summers at a remote fish camp in Council — about a two-hour drive from Nome. Fresh Start programs can often be completed in flexible ways, including online or by phone. That makes it possible for adults across the state to participate. Lori said joining an online program like Fresh Start meant she could continue doing the program at fish camp. She packed her free scale in her luggage and kept tracking her weight loss at camp.


“The program goes with me wherever I go,” said Lori, featured in a new video about Alaska’s Fresh Start programs. “I was able to do everything on my laptop or my phone. All I needed was Internet access.”


Lori lost 25 pounds through the program and said she feels better than she has in a long time.


The Fresh Start programs work because participants connect with certified coaches and educators who work with them through the whole program, Downes said. These coaches educate and empower participants so that the lessons learned continue beyond their time in the program.  Depending on the program they join, Alaskans work with their coach to make healthy changes to what they eat and drink, how often they move and sleep, their stress levels, and more.


“Fresh Start programs give Alaskans access to free tools like scales, blood sugar monitors and blood pressure cuffs, or nicotine replacement therapy like gum or lozenges to help stop smoking,” Downes said. “The scales, monitors and cuffs sync to an online app, so Alaskans can work with their coaches to track progress and make changes as needed to feel better. When asked about the program, Alaskans in the weight loss program said the free scale and the online food trackers were the most helpful tools for losing weight.”


Alaskans have seen great improvement in their health by joining other Fresh Start programs to lower blood sugar or blood pressure. Overall, 84% of participants in the diabetes management program saw improvement in blood tests used to measure good control of blood sugar (A1C).  Alaskans who participated in the blood pressure program have reduced their blood pressure by an average of 5 points for the systolic (top number) and 3 points for diastolic (bottom number) per person.


Visit to learn more about these programs and see if a Fresh Start program is right for you or someone you know. 


Ready for a fresh start? Omada helps you get there with a plan built around you and all the tools and support you need. All at no cost to you.

Alaska’s Fresh Start program to lose weight is offered through Omada Health. You can find out if you’re eligible for this free program at

Fresh Start – Free Programs for Better Health


Thousands of Alaskans have joined. Are you ready? Contact with questions about the campaign and to request materials.