TABLE 4-1 Expenditures for and Rates of Participation in Major Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs, FY 2005

Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs

Average Monthly Participation or Nutrition Provided

Annual Expenditures ($ billion)

Food Stamp Program

25.7 million participants


Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

8.0 million participants


National School Lunch Program

29.6 million participants


School Breakfast Program

9.3 million participants


Child and Adult Care Food Program

1,099.0 million meals served in child-care centers;

72.1 million meals served in family child-care centers;

57.3 million meals served in adult day-care centers


SOURCE: USDA (2006b).

lines for Americans 2005 and current infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics (USDA, 2006d). The committee recommends that Congress and USDA expeditiously complete the revision of the contents of the WIC food packages and thoroughly examine other relevant food and nutrition assistance programs so that they can be strengthened to fully address childhood obesity prevention goals and to monitor and evaluate relevant outcomes.

In 1999, USDA funded a childhood obesity prevention initiative called Fit WIC to support and evaluate social and environmental approaches to prevent and reduce obesity in preschool-aged children. Four state WIC programs (California, Kentucky, Vermont, and Virginia) and the Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona received funds for a 3-year period to identify ways in which the WIC program could respond to the childhood obesity epidemic for program participants. The main finding from the five pilot projects was that many parents of obese preschool-aged children neither saw their children as being obese nor were they concerned about their children’s weight. However, the pilot program also found that parents demonstrated interest in receiving information on ways to promote healthy behaviors in their families, WIC program staff requested information on effective methods to reach parents, and community groups expressed interest in working on the issue of childhood obesity prevention (USDA, 2005b) (Chapters 6 and 8).

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