Patterns of Health Risk

Compared to the U.S. general population and other tribal groups, fewer Alaska Native older adults reported their health as good or excellent and nearly one half indicated their health as poor. However, health status of Alaska Native people overall has improved over the years, largely due to the increased availability of medical care and advances in medical science.

The increase in life expectancy among Alaska Natives is 69.5 years at birth and has already been mentioned. This is primarily due to the reduction in infectious diseases and acute illnesses as a major cause of death. The increasing incidence of chronic disease in the Alaska Native population is often associated with an increase in functional limitations and more years of disability.