A new study shows that 34 of 56 WIC State Agencies are seeing modest decreases in obesity among young children from 2010-2014. The percentage of low-income children (ages 2-4) with obesity enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) decreased from 15.9% in 2010 to 14.5% in 2014.
These findings come from a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Researchers analyzed obesity trends from 2000 to 2014 among young children aged 2-4 years from low-income families enrolled in (WIC). The study was recently published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Trends in Obesity among Participants Aged 2-4 Years in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—United States, 2000-2014[PDF-490KB]
What is already known about this topic?
Previous analyses using Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS) data found that during 2008–2011, obesity prevalence among children aged 2–4 years who participated in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and other nutrition and health programs declined slightly overall, among non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and Asians/Pacific Islanders, and in 19 of 43 states and U.S. territories.
What is added by this report?
The WIC Participants and Program Characteristics (WIC PC) census data replace the PedNSS system to report obesity prevalence among low-income young children from more jurisdictions consistently. This is the first study to use WIC PC data to examine early childhood obesity among low-income WIC young children. Modest declines in obesity prevalence from 2010 to 2014 were observed overall and in all five racial/ethnic groups. Among the 56 WIC state agencies in states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories, 34 had statistically significant declines. Despite the recent downward trends, the overall obesity prevalence among WIC children aged 2–4 years remains high at 14.5% in 2014.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Continued obesity prevention initiatives at the national, state and local levels are needed. Policy and practice changes in key settings (community, early care and education, and health care), and initiatives that support pregnant women, parents, and key care providers to promote healthy pregnancies, breastfeeding, quality nutrition, and physical activity for young children are needed to further reduce the prevalence of early childhood obesity.
What is WIC?
WIC is a federal program that promotes healthy eating and nutrition education for infants and children up to age 5, and low-income women who are pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding. Nutrition during pregnancy and early childhood is critical for healthy child growth and development. To be eligible for WIC, women, infants, and children must meet residential, income, and nutrition risk requirements.
For more information:
Pan L, Freedman DS, Sharma AJ, et al. Trends in Obesity Among Participants Aged 2–4 Years in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — United States, 2000–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1256–1260. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6545a2