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Obesity drops among children enrolled in NY state WIC nutrition program
Date:1/8/2013

to improve their eating behavior and achieve healthier weights. Changing WIC foods does change what children eat."

When compared to children in the "old" WIC, children in the "new" WIC had more healthy behaviors and were less likely to be overweight or obese. For instance:

  • Low/nonfat milk consumption was up by 4.5% in 2-4 year-old children.
  • Steady increases in daily consumption of any fruits, vegetables, and whole grains were seen in 1-4-year-olds.
  • Proportions of 2-4-year-olds with 2 or fewer hours of television or other screen time increased by 2.5%, while the proportion of children under age 2 with no screen time increased by 33%.
  • Mothers who initiated breastfeeding jumped by 7%, from 72.2 to 77.5%.

"In the two years after the changes to WIC were rolled out in New York State, an estimated 2,300 more New York children were normal weight, not overweight or obese," says first author Mary Ann Chiasson, DrPH, Vice President of Research and Evaluation at Public Health Solutions; and Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology (in Medicine) at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

While early childhood obesity levels had plateaued before the new changes in the WIC program, these results suggest that the new WIC food package may be contributing to further reductions in obesity risk.

"The new WIC food package appears to be having the hoped for effect of promoting healthy eating, building a foundation for healthy choices about diet, exercise, and other healthful habits," says Sally Findley, PhD, Professor of Clinical Population and Family Health and Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia's Mailman School.

"If you help keep kids at normal weight during early childhood, they are much more likely to stay at normal weight throughout childhood and beyond," continues Dr. Findley, adding that preventing obesity in young children is especially impo
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Contact: Timothy S. Paul
tp2111@columbia.edu
212-305-2676
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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