The following is a statement from Jamie Bussel, senior program officer and childhood obesity lead at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, regarding new data on obesity rates among children participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
“The continued decline in obesity rates among children participating in WIC is encouraging and yet another indication that all eligible families should be able to participate in and benefit from this critical program.
“WIC serves nearly half of all infants born in the United States and children from lower-income families are often at greatest risk for obesity. The new data show that overall obesity rates among children participating in WIC declined from 15.9 percent in 2010 to 13.9 percent in 2016, with statistically significant decreases among all racial and ethnic subgroups.
“These new data reinforce the positive impact WIC has on both women and children, from improving access to prenatal care to supporting early cognitive development. Recent updates to the nutrition content of the WIC food package—which the CDC cites as a possible reason for the decline in obesity rates among children participating in WIC—have led to stores stocking healthier options and families buying healthier foods. That is why we must continue to protect and strengthen child nutrition programs, including WIC and the school meals programs.
Helping all children grow up at a healthy weight remains one of our top priorities. The data released today are a sign that we are continuing to make meaningful progress toward this goal.
Changes in Obesity Among US Children Aged 2 Through 4 Years Enrolled in WIC During 2010-2016
Prevalence of childhood obesity is high in the United States, especially among children from lower-income families.
Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program
WIC helps low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age 5 achieve and maintain a healthy weight by providing healthy foods and nutrition education; promoting breastfeeding and supporting nursing mothers; and providing healthcare and social-service referrals.
Obesity Among WIC Participants Ages 2-4
Rates of obesity and severe obesity have declined among 2- to 4-year-olds enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).