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WIC and the Battle Against Childhood Overweight

by Michele Ver Ploeg

Economic Brief No. (EB-13) 4 pp, April 2009

Cover of ERS report "WIC and the Battle Against Childhood Overweight" One of the most worrisome aspects of the growing tide of obesity in the United States is the high rate of overweight among children. Over one in five young children, ages 2 to 5, are at risk of being overweight. The number of children at risk of being overweight has grown in the past two decades, as has the number of young children whose families participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Are these increases connected? The answer appears to be “No.” However, being from a low-income family, especially a low-income, Mexican-American family, does raise the probability of a child’s being at risk for overweight. This brief examines trends in the relationship between WIC participation and weight status by updating the results of Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs and Obesity: 1976-2002 (ERR-48) to include data from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Keywords: WIC, children, Body Mass Index, overweight

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Last updated: Saturday, May 26, 2012

For more information contact: Michele Ver Ploeg