To examine the extent to which a Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) intervention improved BMI z scores and obesity-related behaviors among children age 2 to 4 years.
In two Massachusetts communities, practice changes in WIC were implemented as part of the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (MA-CORD) initiative to prevent obesity among low-income children. One WIC program was the comparison. Changes in BMI z scores pre and post intervention and prevalence of obesity-related behaviors of WIC participants were assessed. Linear mixed models were used to examine BMI z score change, and logistic regression models were used to examine changes in obesity-related behaviors in each intervention site versus comparison over 2 years.
WIC-enrolled children in both intervention sites (vs. comparison) had improved sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and sleep duration. Compared to the comparison WIC program (n = 626), no differences were observed in BMI z score among children in Intervention Site #1 (n = 198) or #2 (n = 637). In sensitivity analyses excluding Asian children, a small decline was observed in BMI z score (−0.08 units/y [95% confidence interval: −0.14 to −0.02], P = 0.01) in Intervention Site #2 versus comparison.
Among children enrolled in WIC, the MA-CORD intervention was associated with reduced prevalence of obesity risk factors in both intervention communities and a small improvement in BMI z scores in one of two intervention communities in non-Asian children. (Author abstract)