The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report indicating that obesity rates among preschoolers decreased in 19 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands between 2008 and 2011. Analyzing weight and height information from nearly 12 million children aged 2 to 4 years who participated in CDC’s Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, the report showed that Florida, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey, South Dakota, and the U.S. Virgin Islands saw at least a one percentage point decrease in obesity rates. According to CDC research, approximately one out of eight preschoolers in the United States is obese. “Although obesity remains epidemic, the tide has begun to turn for some kids in some states,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “While the changes are small, for the first time in a generation they are going in the right direction. Obesity in early childhood increases the risk of serious health problems for life.”
One area where this has been observed is in Connecticut, where a team of researchers from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity studied stores authorized by the Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The Rudd Center team apparently reported that many stores had responded to revised U.S. Department of Agriculture rules about which foods could be purchased with WIC coupons by “improving the availability and variety of healthy foods.” Evidently, the businesses “‘found a way’… to make room for low-fat milk on their shelves, and to stock fruits and vegetables and whole-grain breads and other products they had not sold before.” According to a news source, Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz suggested that WIC reforms have “surely” played a role in the reduction of obesity rates in children. See CDC News Release, August 6, 2013; The New Yorker, August 9, 2013.