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Al Roker's Health Journey Over the Years, in His Own Words

People 12/2/2022 Kelsie Gibson

Theo Wargo/Getty © Provided by People Theo Wargo/Getty

Al Roker doesn't shy away from talking about his health journey. 

Since getting his gastric bypass surgery in 2002, the Today show anchor and meteorologist has shared his story with viewers on the show and on social media. 

"It's still a struggle but I'm never going back," he wrote on Instagram as he marked the 20th anniversary of his surgery. "I have setbacks and struggle every day, but I never forget how far I've come."

In addition to giving glimpses of his diet and exercise routines online, Roker has also candidly shared his health scares as well. In November 2020, Roker revealed his prostate cancer diagnosis and has since used his platform to encourage people to get tested. 

Most recently, Roker has dealt with another medical issue as he was taken to the hospital for blood clots in his leg and lungs, which led to him missing his first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 27 years. Though he was released shortly after, he has since returned to the hospital

"Thank you to all the wonderful friends and family who have reached out," his daughter Leila wrote on social media. "We really appreciate it."

Read ahead for Roker's most candid quotes about his health journey. 

RELATED: Al Roker's 3 Kids: Everything to Know

December 2012: Al Roker opens up about getting his bypass surgery 

In an interview with Parade, Roker opened up about his longtime struggle with weight and how his father convinced him to get his bypass surgery. 

"After my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2001, he was at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, and I would go in every day. We'd talk and joke, and then one day he got serious and said, 'Look, we both know I'm not going to be here to help you with my grandkids, so you gotta promise you're ­going to lose weight.' Seven days later he was gone," he recalled. "A few weeks afterward, [Deborah and I] found out we were pregnant with our son Nicky. I said, 'Okay, I'm going to have to do something.'" 

Years later, he decided to get serious about his health and started seeing a nutritionist and exercising more. "I ran into an old friend, and he said, 'Hey, dude, I just lost 40 pounds.' I decided to meet with his nutritionist, and I think it was fate that she crossed my path at the exact moment that I was ready to hear what she had to say," he told the publication. "For the first time, I realized that I had to change not only the quantity but the quality of food that I was eating. Even more ­importantly, exercise has finally become a big part of my life." 

RELATED: Al Roker and Deborah Roberts' Relationship Timeline

October 2018: Al Roker opens up about his carpal tunnel surgery

Al Roker/Instagram © Provided by People Al Roker/Instagram

In October 2018, Roker underwent an emergency carpal tunnel surgery to fix a thumb issue that came up during rehearsals for his Broadway debut in Waitress, about which he later opened up on Today

"It had just gotten progressively worse to the point where Thursday, I lost use of my thumb during rehearsals," he revealed. Despite his surgery, he didn't let that stop him from making his Broadway debut.

"That's not stopping me," Roker declared, though, he joked, "they are putting an Ace bandage around my mouth, because they've heard my singing."

March 2019: Al Roker opens up about losing weight with the keto diet 

As Roker prioritized his health, he got really into the keto diet in 2019, which helped him lose 40 lbs. In response to some criticism about the diet from celebs, Roker explained his reasoning for sticking to it on Today

"My point is, what works for you, works for you," he said. "There's science on both sides that says it's not a great idea and science that says it is a good idea. I think it's up to people — with their doctor, with their medical professional — [to make their own decision]."

September 2019: Al Roker opens up about his hip replacement surgery 

In September 2019, Roker announced that he was taking a brief hiatus from Today as he underwent hip replacement surgery

"My left hip has been deteriorating, and I decided, let me go get it taken care of," he said. After getting his knee replaced in 2016 and having an emergency carpal tunnel surgery in 2018, Roker stayed in good spirits as he joked he's "slowly replacing this body one by one."

August 2020: Al Roker opens up about his shoulder surgery 

As a result of arthritis, Roker underwent shoulder surgery in 2020. On Today, the weather anchor opened up about the intense pain that led to him getting the procedure. 

"It's gotten to the point where I can't even sleep at night," he said. "It's not bad during the day, but at night it's an intense pain that literally wakes me up. For the last month, I've only been sleeping about two or three hours a night, which even for me, is a little bit less [than I need]."

November 2020: Al Roker reveals his prostate cancer diagnosis 

Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Al Roker © Provided by People Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Al Roker

Just months after his shoulder surgery, Roker revealed that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. "It's a good news–bad news kind of thing," he said on Today. "Good news is we caught it early. Not-great news is that it's a little aggressive, so I'm going to be taking some time off to take care of this."

He underwent surgery shortly after, later giving a positive update on his diagnosis a week later. "I'm doing great," he told Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb. "I'm told it went well," he said adding doctors said he has no evidence of cancer now but will continue to be monitored in the coming years.

"It was a great relief," Roker said about his prognosis. "Look, we're not out of the woods ... but for a first start, this is terrific news. I'm gonna be up for, as a lot of people who live with cancer, up for lifelong testing to make sure this doesn't come back."

During his appearance on the show, he also made sure to thank all of his fans for their support. "The outpouring of love and support that I have received from all of you, including the prayers, have been truly heartening. And this Thanksgiving, I'm truly thankful for all of you," he added.  

February 2021: Al Roker encourages others to get tested for prostate cancer 

During an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Roker explained that he went public with his diagnosis to demonstrate the importance of prostate cancer screenings.

"I went public with this because — it's a simple test, but a lot of guys, you know, we're wimpy. We don't like going to the doctor. And this is an easy to test to do," he explained. 

"I just want people to get their prostate checked — and especially if you're a man of color, get your prostate checked. It's not that big a deal and it can make a big deal," he said, noting that African-American men are 50% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and twice as likely to die from it. 

March 2022: Al Roker celebrates his bypass surgery anniversary 

Al Roker © Provided by People Al Roker

In 2022, Roker marked 20 years since getting his bypass surgery on social media. "Hard to believe it was 20 years ago today, I wore these size 54 Levi jeans to my #gastricbypass at 340 lbs. and here I am today," he captioned a video of himself holding up his old jeans. 

"It's still a struggle but I'm never going back," he vowed. "I have setbacks and struggle every day, but I never forget how far I've come."

June 2022: Al Roker opens up about his weight-loss journey 

In June 2022, Roker continued to talk about his weight-loss journey, noting how his physical and mental health has improved since incorporating light exercise and a low-carb diet into his day-to-day.

"Exercise, and not extreme exercise — we're doing that 30-day walking challenge — that improves, I think, your mental health," he said. "Combined with a low-carb diet, I've lost about 45 lbs. in the last several months. I do about 100 grams of carbs a day and I walk."

September 2022: Al Roker encourages people to get the COVID vaccine after testing positive

After being absent from Hurricane Ian coverage on Today, Roker took to Instagram to reveal that he tested positive for COVID-19, noting that he felt well and his symptoms were mild. 

"I got boosted last week. And the science works. I don't feel anything really and all is good," he said at the time. 

November 2022: Al Roker opens up about his blood clots

In 2022, Roker missed his first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 27 years as he recovered from blood clots in his leg and lungs that sent him to the hospital. 

Ahead of the special, Roker thanked everyone for their support on Instagram. "So many of you have been thoughtfully asking where I've been. Last week I was admitted to the hospital with a blood clot in my leg which sent some clots into my lungs," he wrote.

"After some medical whack-a-mole, I am so fortunate to be getting terrific medical care and on the way to recovery. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers and hope to see you soon." 

Though he was released shortly after, he has since returned to the hospital, with his daughter giving a brief update on social media. "Thank you to all the wonderful friends and family who have reached out," his daughter Leila wrote. "We really appreciate it."

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