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Kentucky WIC FIT

Obesity is a common nutritional concern among low-income preschool children, one of the WIC program target populations.

Statistics from the 2002 Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System show about 17 percent of children ages 2, 3 and 4 are already overweight. Nutritional counseling for the program targets obesity and encourages physical activity.


In 1997, a collaboration on the issue of obesity began between the Kentucky WIC Program and the Children's Hospital Medical Center (CHMC). In 1999, the WIC Program and CHMC submitted a WIC special projects proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Kentucky received a three-year grant to develop action plans to prevent childhood obesity. 

The initiative was designed to examine ways WIC could better respond to the issue of childhood obesity. WIC's broad access to the population of young, low-income children at greatest risk for obesity makes it especially well equipped to reach that population - a critical ability for any successful prevention effort. The obesity grant research team was led by Robert Whitaker, MD, MPH, social scientist from CHMC.


The project addressed the problem of childhood obesity prevention in the WIC program by providing an intervention aimed at changing the attitudes and perceptions of health professionals on the subject of obesity in 2- to 5-year-old children. To bring about changes in attitude, a videotape was developed for health professionals that included interviews with mothers whose children are enrolled in WIC. The video was designed to inform, educate and motivate the public on the problem of obesity.

The videotape Beyond Nutrition Counseling: Reframing the Battle Against Obesity was produced by Video Action Fund, a non-profit production company specializing in television program and educational video production for outreach campaigns. These Telly Award-winning videotapes use day-in-the-life segments with three low-income WIC clients to highlight the struggles parents face raising young children. 

The research team published four articles in professional journals.

Kentucky WIC FIT Activity Kit

The Kentucky FIT WIC Activity Kit, adapted from Vermont's WIC FIT Project, is a resource for educators of families with young children, including WIC, Head Start, childcare, preschoolers and their families. It provides physical activity lesson plan ideas for preschoolers and their families. By involving parents and caregivers of children in helping with the lessons, we hope to encourage continued participation in the activities at home.

The activities in the WIC FIT Activity Kit are based on the following concepts:

  • Children learn by doing and young children use movement to explore their environment.  Learning physical skills are as important as learning colors, numbers and letters.
  • Children need adult help to further develop and expand their motor competence.
  • Parents are their child's first and most important teachers. 
  • Parents who are involved in their child's play contribute greatly to their child's overall development.
  • Outdoor playtime is more likely to produce vigorous physical activity in young children than indoor playtime.
  • Children benefit from being physically active every day. 
  • Regular physical activity improves mood, overall health, and prevents overweight and related diseases.

The Activity Kit

The  WIC Fit Activity Guide provides physical activity lesson plans (WICtivities), reproducible parent handouts for each lesson and a resource section for further learning opportunities. It also includes:

  • Two beach balls
  • Playtime Favorites CD
  • Bodywise CD
  • Playing with Your Baby Booklet (English and Spanish)
  • Playing with Your 3- to 5-year-old Booklet (English and Spanish)
  • Playing with Your Toddlers Booklet (English and Spanish)
  • The Berenstein Bears and Too Much TV Book
  • The Berentein Bears and Too Much Junk Food Book
  • It's Fun to Play Everyday Coloring Book
  • Children Growing Health Booklet (English and Spanish)
  • Just Move It Pads

For further information please contact Jennifer Wyatt.

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Last Updated 2/7/2017