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Drastic reduction in child obesity is a victory for public health and WIC programs

MARCH 17, 2014 - A 43-percent decrease in obesity among children ages 2 through 5 is being hailed as a public health victory by the National WIC Association. According to its recent news release, WIC - the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children - played a significant part in the reduction of obesity among preschool-age children.

Recent changes in the WIC Program's nutrition education and food package may have contributed to the drastic decline in childhood obesity. Healthy items like fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods were added, while the amount of fruit juice and whole milk was reduced.

Locally, the WIC Program is administered by the Health Department of Northwest Michigan. It provides nutrition education and healthy foods to women who are pregnant and breastfeeding, and to infants and children up to age 5. In addition, WIC has brought nearly $1.9 million in food dollars to the Health Department's four-county service area, which includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego Counties.

"WIC's role in the reduction of childhood obesity is exciting," said Suzette Daly, Family Health Supervisor for the Health Department. "The invaluable nutrition education and healthy foods provided by WIC help play an integral role in putting nutritious foods on the plates of young children 2 to 5 years of age, and have enabled better access to healthier food across the nation."

The Michigan WIC program celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. For more information about the program and eligibility requirements, visit, or call (800) 432-4121 to make an appointment.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties.