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Int J Pediatr Obes. 2008;3(1):22-30. doi: 10.1080/17477160701520231.

US Food assistance programs and trends in children's weight.

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1
Economic Research Service -US Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES. High rates of overweight and obesity among low-income children have led some to question whether participation in US domestic food assistance programs contributes to this health problem. We use multiple years of data to examine trends in children's body weight and participation in the Food Stamp Program (FSP) or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Specifically, we assess whether a consistent relationship between program participation and body weight exists over time. METHODS. Data from multiple waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) are used to examine the relationship between children's body weight and food assistance programs between 1976 and 2002. Linear regression models are used to estimate BMI and logit models are used to predict the probabilities of at-risk of overweight and overweight. Food assistance program participants (either FSP or WIC participants depending on age) are compared with income eligible non-participants and higher income children. RESULTS. Results show no systematic relationship over time between FSP participation and weight status for school-aged children (age 5-17). For children aged 2-4, no differences in weight status between WIC participants and eligible non-participants were found. However, recent data show some differences between WIC participants and higher income children. CONCLUSIONS. Our analysis does not find evidence of a consistent relationship between childhood obesity and participation in the FSP or WIC programs.

PMID:
17852543
DOI:
10.1080/17477160701520231
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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