Recent data shows that childhood obesity rates among low-income families have decreased in Wyoming, down from nearly 11.8 percent in 2010 to 9.9 percent in 2014.
Those numbers come from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of two to four year olds whose families receive financial assistance from WIC, the Women, Infants, and Children Program. Thirty other states also saw a decline, although, nationwide, children from low income families are still more likely to experience obesity than children from other economic backgrounds.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health collaborated to examine state-level efforts to combat childhood obesity in low income children. They analyzed which programs each state has adopted to provide nutrition, health education, and family outreach. Trust For America’s Health spokesman Albert Lang says that the lower rates are a sign of effective policies.
“Obviously every state is really different given how big our country is,” Lang said. “Some policies work – obviously farming is something more in a rural state – but we do know that [people are] taking a comprehensive look at childhood obesity and marshaling all of the community resources together, and those are what I think are resulting in the declines we’re seeing in the 31 states.”
According to the data, Wyoming now has the third lowest childhood obesity rate for low income kids in the country. Lang attributes this to the state's nutrition recommendations for childcare providers, and it's support for farm to childcare programs that connect kids to healthy locally grown foods.