WIC Data and Statistics
Early Childhood Obesity and Overweight
Overweight or obesity is defined as an excessively high body weight relative to height. Body mass index (or BMI) is a measure used to compare weight to height. In children, BMI is compared to children of the same age and sex, using CDC growth charts to determine the BMI percentile-for-age and sex.
Children who have obesity are at a higher risk of: Type 2 Diabetes, breathing problems (such as asthma or sleep apnea), and having obesity as an adult.
A child is classified as obese, overweight, normal or healthy weight, or underweight.
- Obese (BMI above 95th percentile)
- Overweight (BMI above 85th percentile but below 95th percentile)
- Normal or Healthy Weight (BMI above 5th percentile but below 85th percentile)
- Underweight (BMI below 5th percentile)
Obesity Rates among WIC Children, Aged 2 – 4 Years
The WIC program provides nutritious food, education, and services to about 4 million children under the age of 5. WIC services have been shown to have positive results in promoting healthy weight and nutritionally-balanced diets for its child participants.
According to the most recent State of Childhood Obesity published by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the rate of obesity among children aged 2 to 4 years enrolled in WIC has declined.
In 2016, 13.9% of 2 to 4 year WIC children had obesity, down from 15.9% in 2010. State obesity rates ranged from 7.8% to 19.8%.
Tennessee WIC Program: Early Childhood Overweight and Obesity
Among children aged 2 to 4 years enrolled in Tennessee WIC, about 1 in 4 (25.5%) were considered to be overweight or have obesity in 2019. 13.4% of WIC children had a BMI above the 95th percentile compared to 13.7% in 2018.
Higher obesity rates were noted for:
- Boys (14.0%) vs. girls (12.8%)
- 4-year olds (14.9%) compared with 2-year olds (11.4%) and 3-year olds (14.3%)
- White children (14.5%) compared with black children (10.1%) and children of other race (12.1%)
Obesity rates exceeded the state rate in 52 counties, and county-level obesity rates ranged from 3.4 percent to 23.2 percent. Between 2015 and 2019, Tennessee WIC there was no statistically significant change in obesity among child participants. Across the state, 7 out of the state's 95 counties had statistically significant declines in obesity rates within the same time period.
WIC Overweight and Obesity Rates: County-Level Estimate Maps
The following maps illustrate 2019 county-level estimates of overweight and obesity among children aged 2 to 4 years old enrolled in Tennessee WIC. Actual county estimates are detailed in the table below.
WIC Overweight and Obesity: County-Level Estimate Table
The table below contains county-level estimates for Tennessee WIC children aged 2 to 4 years. Use the box below to search for your county.
Note: Estimates were suppressed for counties with small numbers and is denoted with "--".
|Location||WIC Children Overweight (%)||WIC Children Obese (%)|
Tennessee monitors overweight and obesity rates among children enrolled in the WIC program. All rates are calculated using the WIC Data System and is based on a similar methodology used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS), which was discontinued in 2012.
Note: In 2016, CDC modified the cut points for biologically implausible values (BIVs). These changes did not affect the calculation of percentiles or subsequent calculation of overweight or obesity.
- Weight-for-Length Trends Among WIC Infants (Pediatrics, 2017)
- Tennessee Breastfeeding Resources
- Gold Sneaker Initiative
- Healthy Parks, Healthy Person