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New report shows obesity among young children in Delaware is holding steady

Nemours Children's Health System

There’s good news regarding obesity rates among children from lower-income families in Delaware. 


The obesity rate among children ages 2 to 4 participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Delaware held steady between 2010 and 2016.

That’s according to the latest data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). 

And Robert Wood Johnson Foundation senior program officer Jamie Bussel calls that very encouraging.


“Data was released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," said Bussel. "National data was actually released this past summer showing obesity rates among kids 2 to 4, as you said, participating in the WIC Program, dropped from about 16% back in 2010 to about 14% in 2016.”

Bussel attributes the low numbers to First State communities taking real steps in helping children grow at a healthy rate.


“That could be a host of strategies being deployed at the local level," said Bussel. "We also know that changes actually made to the Federal WIC Program in the last decade may be having a real impact. So I think the big message is that we should be doing everything we can to ensure that this incredibly important nutrition program is reaching every woman and every child who is eligible for it.”


Bussel says the Foundation does have several policy recommendations aimed at extending the positive impact of WIC.


“Congress should increase WIC funding to extend eligibility to postpartum moms through the first two years after a baby’s birth and to children through the age of 6," said Bussel. "Also, continue funding the WIC Breastfeeding (Peer) Counseling Program at its full amount to insure moms have access to those critical supports.” 

Bussel adds there have already been several relevant policy developments in recent years. 

The list of food and beverages covered by WIC was updated in 2009 to include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lower-fat milk, helping WIC participants maintain healthier diets and keep obesity down.

Bussel says in Delaware, 13,608 infants and children participate in WIC.

The full report is available here.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.