DHHS Releases Results from Fit WIC Project

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Women, Infant and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program is releasing results on its Fit WIC Project. Fit WIC is aimed at promoting daily physical activity for children ages 3 and 4 and was developed in response to the growing rates of overweight children. It’s currently underway in Belknap, Coos, Grafton, Hillsborough, Merrimack and Rockingham Counties.

Preliminary data shows the Project to be successful reaching families with preschoolers and helping parents to understand the important role of physical activity and play for young children in preventing overweight children. Parents overwhelmingly indicated (75%) they had used the Fit WIC activity materials provided by WIC, and 40% of parents felt Fit WIC had helped them learn the importance of physical activity in keeping children healthy.

"The problem of being overweight or obese is a very serious health issue," said DHHS Director of Public Health Services (DPHS) Dr Jose Montero. "We know it's not easy to address this health issue, however through the reach of the WIC program we have a unique opportunity to try and reduce and prevent this problem as we educate children at a time when they are beginning to form lifelong eating habits." WIC is a nutrition program for low to moderate-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to the age of 5 years old. In 2007, nearly 34% of children enrolled in the NH WIC Program were overweight or at risk of being overweight based on their BMI-for-age measurements.

The Department recently began reviewing parent surveys to develop an assessment of the impact of Fit WIC. More than 1500 children statewide are enrolled in Fit WIC. Although the majority of parents indicated their children are physically active for 1 or more hours a day, more than 60% of the children spend one to two hours a day watching television.

Fit WIC is a special project grant awarded by the US Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service to the New Hampshire WIC Program. To learn more about Fit WIC or to enroll in the WIC Program call the Nutrition and Health Promotion Section at 1-800-942-4321.