Childhood obesity

Overweight and obesity in children participating in Minnesota WIC, age two up to five years old:

Indicators on this page describe obesity and overweight status for low-income children two up to five years of age who participate in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program. The WIC Program is a nutrition and breastfeeding program that helps young families eat well, learn about nutrition, and stay healthy.

Overweight and obesity are determined using Body Mass Index (BMI) percentile. This means that a child's weight, height, age, and sex are all considered. For more information, see About the childhood obesity data.

See "Maps" for obesity and overweight indicators by county and zip code.

In 2019, about 16% of Minnesota children participating in WIC were overweight and about 13% were obese.

There are health inequities in overweight and obesity among Minnesota's diverse racial and ethnic groups. Compared to other groups, obesity and overweight are highest among American Indian children.

"Asian" category in the chart above includes all children that identified as Asian for comparison to specific Asian cultural identities. More than 1 in 3 children that identify as Hmong are overweight or obese, higher than any other Asian cultural identity category.

"Black/African American" category in the chart above includes all children that identified as Black or African American for comparison to specific Black cultural identities. About 1 in 7 (14%) Sudanese children and about 1 in 5 (23%) of Somali children are overweight or obese.

Overweight and obesity increase with age among young children. Four-year-olds are more likely to be overweight or obese compared to both three- and two-year-olds.

Among Minnesota children participating in WIC, overweight and obesity are similar among boys and girls.

About WIC

Minnesota WIC promotes a healthy weight for both mother and child through these services:

  • Individualized nutrition assessments and counseling on how to help children eat a healthy diet;
  • Monitoring appropriate weight gain and growth;
  • Encouraging families to be physically active and to limit screen time for television, computers and video games;
  • Referrals to community nutrition and physical activity resources;
  • Promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and breastfeeding with healthy foods for the first year of life; and
  • Promoting appropriate weight gain during pregnancy.

Data reports on the WIC program are available here