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Significant Fall In Obesity Among Children From Low-income US Families

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A significant fall has been recorded in obesity among children, aged 2-4 years from low-income families in 41 U.S. states, a new study shows.

Data published in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) is based on children in this age category enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

CDC and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers analyzed obesity trends from 2010 to 2016 among 12.4 million young children from 56 WIC state agencies.

This positive change was achieved due to increased availability of healthier foods and beverages in authorized WIC stores and improved dietary quality among families who enrolled in WIC, the report says.

In 2009, CDC had required WIC state agencies to implement redesigned WIC food packages to better align with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In addition to the food packages, WIC helps to establish successful long-term breastfeeding, provides participants with a wider variety of food, and offers WIC state agencies greater flexibility in prescribing food packages to adapt to participants with cultural food preferences.

Despite these recent declines in obesity among children enrolled in WIC, the prevalence remained high in most states in 2016, says the report.

CDC Director Robert Redfield called on parents to make healthy choices for their children to reduce the potential for complications posed by childhood obesity later in life.

Parents were advised to serve nutritious foods for meals and snacks and be a role model for preschoolers by eating fruits and vegetables alongside them.

Breastfeeding, making water available throughout the day, limiting the screen time of preschoolers at home, and encouraging preschoolers to be physically active every day are the other main recommendations suggested by CDC to create an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle.

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