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Annual CDC Review of Nutritional Status of Low-Income U.S. Children

Embargoed for release until 4:00 p.m. (EST), February 2, 1999

February 1,1999
Contact: Tim Hensley
CDC, Center for Chronic Disease & Health Promotion
(770) 488-5820
CDC, Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Study finds low rates of breast-feeding and increasing overweight

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announces the release of the 1997 annual report on the nutritional status of low-income children in the United States. The Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System 1997 (PedNSS) monitored low-income children in federally funded programs in 42 states, the District of Columbia, and seven tribal governments and compiled nutrition data from approximately 8 million pediatric clinic visits.

The report includes these key findings:

Pediatric overweight increased from 7.0 percent in 1989 to 8.6 percent in 1997. The system monitors weight and height as indicators of general nutritional status.

Breast-feeding rates have increased from 35 percent in 1989 to 46 percent in 1997 -- still far below the national goal of 75 percent. In addition, only 30 percent of African-American children are breast-fed.

Anemia among young children declined slightly from 19.4 percent to 18.4 percent between 1989 and 1997. The rate of anemia among children is an indicator of iron deficiency in the population.

The report concluded that to improve the nutritional status of low-income children, programs should maintain and enhance programs that educate parents on health and nutrition, offer comprehensive health care to all children, and provide supplementary foods to children at risk.

Additionally, since breast-feeding rates tend to vary among races and ethnic groups, programs should develop culturally appropriate strategies to promote and support breast-feeding practices among all women.

To obtain a copy of Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System 1997 call (770) 488-5820.

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