Despite Recent Modest Declines, Childhood Obesity Prevalence Remains High Interview with:
Liping Pan, MD MPH

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This CDC report is the first to use the WIC Participant Characteristic (WIC PC) data from the USDA to monitor trends in obesity among young children aged 2 to 4 years in the WIC program.

The main findings of the study are:

• 34 of 56 (61%) WIC state agencies reported modest decreases in obesity among young children from 2010 to 2014.
• From 2000 to 2010, the prevalence of obesity among 2-4 year olds increased from 14.0% to 15.9%, then dropped to 14.5% from 2010 to 2014.
• Obesity prevalence varied by state, ranging from 8.2 percent in Utah to 20.0 percent in Virginia.
• From 2010 to 2014, obesity prevalence decreased among all major racial/ethnic groups, including non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and Asians/Pacific Islanders.
• From 2000 to 2014, obesity prevalence decreased significantly among Asian/Pacific Islanders, from 13.9 percent to 11.1 percent. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Despite the recent modest declines in childhood obesity prevalence among WIC participants aged 2-4 years, the obesity prevalence among young children in WIC remains high at 14.5%. Continued efforts to work with parents and other stakeholders to promote healthy pregnancies, breastfeeding, quality nutrition, and physical activity for young children in multiple settings are needed to ensure healthy child development. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Continued surveillance to monitor obesity prevalence among young low-income children are need to determine whether these downward trends continued to the future among this vulnerable population. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Children with obesity are more likely to become adults with obesity and suffer physical and mental health problems including increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Therefore, preventing obesity is a key to better health.

Parents, childcare providers, health care professionals, community leaders, and state and local officials all have a role to play in creating places that help children be active and have a healthy diet. Thank you for your contribution to the community.

Pan L, Freedman DS, Sharma AJ, et al. Trends in Obesity Among Participants Aged 2–4 Years in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — United States, 2000–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1256–1260. DOI:

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

[wysija_form id=”5″]

Last Updated on November 21, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD