footballSeptember is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and I am pleased to announce that we’ve seen the number of overweight or obese children decrease among our preschool children in the Arizona WIC Program from one in three to one in four.

Back in 2008, 29.4 percent of preschoolers in the Arizona WIC Program were either overweight or obese. This past year, that number went down to 24.1 percent- which is a major accomplishment. During that time, we implemented many obesity prevention strategies, including adding fruits and vegetables to the WIC food package, introducing  the Empower Program, implementing the Strong Families AZ home visiting program, and including important strategies in our State Health Improvement Plan. The collective impact of these efforts, including those of other partners throughout the state, are leading to improvements in the health of young children in our state.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented . Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to create ways for kids to eat healthier and be more active. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Encourage families to make small changes, like keeping fresh fruit within their children’s reach or going on a family walk after dinner.
  • Motivate teachers and administrators to make schools healthier. Help them provide healthy food options and daily physical activities for students.
  • Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by supporting programs to prevent childhood obesity.

Make a difference for kids. Spread the word about effective strategies for preventing childhood obesity today.