Fewer Arizona children are overweight or obese because of strides in nutrition and physical activity programs sponsored by the Arizona Department of Health Services and the work of partners and programs around the state. The percentage of children two- to five- years old who were overweight or obese in the Arizona WIC Program has fallen by more than five percent since 2008.
Childhood obesity can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which in turn can lead to heart disease. Obese children also are more likely to develop breathing problems, asthma, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones, and poor self-esteem.
Our Bureau of Nutrition and Physical Activity has introduced a new WIC Food Package with fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and whole-grain breads, pastas and tortillas. We also expanded our breastfeeding peer counseling programs, made changes in our nutrition education and clinic services in WIC, and created the Empower Program with incentives to licensed early-education centers for more than 200,000 children.
We also completed the two-year program, Arizona Champions for Change: Communities Putting Prevention to Work. And, we developed the Empower Plus project, funded by Nemours and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with 75 child care programs with enhanced obesity prevention activities.
Reducing obesity is a Winnable Battle both nationally and in Arizona. We have resources to help you eat healthy and get more active. Go to Arizona Nutrition Network’s Champions for Change website to sign up to receive healthy recipes and tips for you and your family. Find more ideas for healthy eating and active living at ChoseMyPlate.gov.