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Childhood obesity rates decline among WIC-enrolled children

June 26, 2019

Today, obesity rates in the United States are high, affecting 93.3 million American adults and 13.7 million American children. However, new data recently shared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shares additional signs of progress in declining prevalence of childhood obesity in some populations.

New data showed that obesity among WIC-enrolled 2- to 4-year-olds decreased from 15.9% in 2010 to 13.9% in 2016. Between 2010–2016, all age, sex, and major race/ethnic groups saw modest improvements in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among young children enrolled in WIC. About 1 in 5 American kids was enrolled in the program in 2016.An earlier report with WIC program participants the same age also found declines in obesity between 2008 and 2011, in 18 states.

The reasons for the declines in obesity among young children in WIC have not yet been determined but may include WIC food package revisions and local, state, and national initiatives. Changes in the WIC program include reducing the amount of juice allowed and switching from high-fat to low-fat milk. While childhood obesity remains a major public health issue, these findings indicate that progress is possible and being made.

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