WIC Changes and Effects on Childhood Obesity

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Researchers evaluated the association of the 2009 changes to the US Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food package and childhood obesity trends. They hypothesized that the food package change reduced obesity among children participating in WIC, a population that has been especially vulnerable to the childhood obesity epidemic.

Before the 2009 WIC food package change, the prevalence of obesity across states among 2- to 4-year-old WIC participants was increasing by 0.23 percentage points annually. After 2009, the trend was reversed. Changes in sociodemographic and other obesity risk factors did not account for this change in the trend in obesity prevalence.

The 2009 WIC food package change may have helped to reverse the rapid increase in obesity prevalence among WIC participants observed before the food package change.

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