Obesity among children enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, significantly declined from 2010 through 2016, data published in JAMA show.
Liping Pan, MD, MPH of the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the CDC, and colleagues reviewed calculated BMIs of more than 12.4 million children aged between 2 and 4 years in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and five U.S. territories who were enrolled in WIC. Data were gathered in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016.
They found that the overall crude prevalence of obesity of the children dropped from 15.9% in 2010 to 13.9% in 2016 (adjusted prevalence difference = 1.9%; 95% CI, 1.9 to 1.8). Also, the overall crude prevalence of overweight or obesity dropped from 32.5% in 2010 to 29.1% in 2016 (adjusted prevalence difference 3.2%; 95% CI, 3.3 to 3.2).
Researchers could not definitively state the reasons for the decline but suggested the drop may be attributable to WIC food packaging changes and local, state and national initiatives.
Pan et al’s findings are limited to children in WIC.
“Despite progress, overall childhood obesity prevalence remains at 19% and for young children from low-income families enrolled in WIC, it is 14%,” Heidi Blanck, MS, PhD, chief of the obesity prevention and control branch at the CDC, told Healio Primary Care in an interview. “Primary care clinicians should maintain vigilance in child obesity prevention and treatment efforts for all children.”
Healio Primary Care reviewed several medical societies’ websites and previously published studies to provide clinicians with tips to help their pediatric patients aged 2 years and older consume a healthier diet.
Obesity among children enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, significantly declined from 2010 through 2016, but was still above 10%, data published in JAMA show.
The AAP suggests encouraging parents to:
- Purchase the smallest amount possible of sugar-sweetened beverages, high-calorie snacks and sweets and more healthy foods and beverages.
- Make the healthy foods and beverages as visible as possible; conversely, place high-calorie foods in the back of pantries and refrigerators.
- Promote the idea that children eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
- Limit the amount of screen time.
Gilles Plourde, MD, PhD , a family practitioner in Canada, suggested these ideas in a Canadian Family Physician article:
- Diets should maintain weight stability.
- Fast food consumption and/or any food portion sizes, should be minimal.
- Food should not be used as a reward.
In addition, an article in American Family Physician, the American Academy of Family Physicians’ clinical journal, suggests reminding parents that children do not need to complete every meal, encouraging their children to actively play and consume meals that provide sufficient fiber and no more than 30% of calories come from fat.
Prior research summarized on Healio suggests rationale for children to have healthy BMIs.
Overweight and obese children are at increased risk for medical conditions such as asthma and type 2 diabetes before reaching adulthood. Other research has shown that as overweight or obese boys and girls grow into adults they are at greater risk for developing coronary heart disease and obstructive sleep apnea, respectively, and both sexes are at higher risk for developing other diseases such as liver cancer and colon cancer. – by Janel Miller
AAP.org. “AAP updates recommendations on obesity prevention: It's never too early to begin living a healthy lifestyle.” https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/pages/AAP-Updates-Recommendations-on-Obesity-Prevention-It's-Never-Too-Early-to-Begin-Living-a-Healthy-Lifestyle.aspx. Accessed June 14, 2019.
Cheung PC, et al. Child Obes. 2016;10.1089/chi.2015.0055.
Moran R. Am Fam Physician. 1999; Feb 15;59(4):861-868.
Pan L, et al. JAMA. 2019;doi:published online ahead of print.
Plourde G. Can Fam Physician. 2006;March 10;52(3).
Disclosure s : Pan et al report no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the studies for those authors’ relevant financial disclosures.