WIC Helps Families Prevent Childhood Obesity
Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment | 8/4/06
Denver, CO. Colorado’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is tackling childhood obesity in Colorado by focusing on increasing breast-feeding rates, physical activity and consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreasing television time.

This is being accomplished by providing individualized nutrition education to each participant in the WIC Program.

Bill Eden, director of the WIC Program, which is based at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said, “In 2004, 9.6 percent of the 94,244 Colorado children who were in the WIC program between ages 2 and 5 were overweight, up from 6.5 percent in 1994. Children are consuming more total fat than children living 20 years ago. They also are getting less than two-thirds the daily recommendation for vitamins and minerals from their diets. Unhealthy diets are on the rise and physical activity is on the decline. The result is an epidemic of overweight children.”

One-half of all infants and one in four young children ages 1-5 participate in Colorado WIC. Contact with so many children gives WIC the opportunity to provide nutrition education specifically targeting children at risk for being overweight.

In addition to providing one-on-one consultations about how to eat healthy and incorporate exercise into daily routines for a healthier lifestyle, the program is supplying program participants with brochures and pamphlets on a variety of nutritional topics.

Eden explained that WIC, one of the nation’s most effective nutrition and public health programs, annually adjusts the income eligibility guidelines to reach women and children in families with incomes at or below 185 percent of poverty. To qualify in this state, a person must live in Colorado and meet income guidelines. A household of four can earn up to $37,000 gross income a year and still qualify for WIC. Many working families meet income guidelines and are eligible to participate in WIC.

WIC serves the following categories:
  • Pregnant women
  • Breast-feeding women, up to the infant's first birthday
  • Non-breast-feeding postpartum women, up to six months after delivery
  • Infants and children up to their fifth birthday
The Colorado WIC program currently provides vouchers for supplemental foods such as cereal, eggs, juice, milk, peanut butter, beans, cheese, carrots, tuna and infant formula to approximately 85,000 low-income women, infants and children in the state each month. Participants also receive nutrition education, breast-feeding education and referrals to other health and social services.

WIC is an equal opportunity provider.

For more information about how to enroll in WIC in Pagosa Springs call San Juan Basin Health Department at 970-264-2409 extension # 22.

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