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State of Obesity report shows improvement for WIC kids

Asian pregnant woman grocery shopping at the vegetable aisle in supermarket

Statistics on childhood obesity related to the federal WIC program are encouraging. The State Of Obesity report found obesity rates among preschool children receiving government food aid dropped to about 14% in 2016.

“WIC’s mission is to assure healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes and healthy growth for women, infants and kids up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk,” said Jamie Bussel, Senior Program Officer with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “It provides nutritious supplemental foods, breastfeeding counseling, education on healthy eating, referrals to healthcare and critical social services. It’s an incredibly important program that we have in this country.”

WIC is a program with specifically allowed foods and that includes a nutrition education component.

“In addition to the nutritious foods, it does a host of other really important supports and tools for young families, moms and young kids,” said Bussel.

Obesity rates among WIC participants ages 2-4 decreased in 31 states and three territories, increased in four states and remained stable in the rest.

“Recent updates to the nutrition content of the WIC food package is something that the CDC cites as a possible reason for the declines that we’re seeing in obesity rates among kids who are participating,” said Bussel.

There were statistically significant decreases among all racial and ethnic subgroups.

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