Last week I shared on TLT’s Facebook page and Twitter feed news of a Center for Disease Control report finding that rates of childhood obesity among low-income children have fallen modestly in 19 states between the years 2008-2011, the first such decline after years of rising obesity.
I noted last week that we don’t know exactly why this reversal occurred, but New Yorker writer Margaret Talbot offers an intriguing theory. In an August 9 New Yorker blog post, she describes research conducted by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity which indicates that changes made in 2009 to the federal W.I.C. program (Supplemental Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, and Children) may be the key driver.
Talbot describes how, in 2009, the USDA revised the list of foods which can be purchased with W.I.C. coupons, dropping items like sugary juices and cereals which are not whole grain, and adding items like whole grain breads and cereals and low-fat milk. According to a Rudd Center study, this policy shift led food outlets in low-income neighborhoods (which often are not supermarkets but gas station-type “quick marts”) to stock healthier items, a trend that eventually affected even stores in those areas which did not accept W.I.C. coupons. According to the Rudd Center, even small changes like a shift from juice to low-fat milk can have a significant impact on obesity rates among the very young children who participate in W.I.C.
Talbot goes on to discuss the implications of the Rudd findings with respect to proposed changes to SNAP (the federal food stamp program) and how such changes are opposed, perhaps surprisingly, by the political left.
Take a few minutes to read the entire post here.
Do You Love The Lunch Tray? ♥♥♥ Then “like” The Lunch Tray! Join over 6,200 TLT fans by liking TLT’s Facebook page (and then adding it to your news feed or interest lists) to get your Lunch delivered fresh daily, along with bonus commentary, interesting kid-and-food links, and stimulating discussion with other readers. You can also follow TLT on Twitter, check out my virtual bulletin boards on Pinterest and find selected TLT posts on The Huffington Post. And be sure to check out my video for kids about processed food, “Mr. Zee’s Apple Factory!”