WEDNESDAY, June 19, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The obesity rate among American preschoolers on government food aid fell from 16% in 2010 to 14% in 2016, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study says.

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It looked at children ages 2 through 4 who receive food vouchers and other services in the federal Women, Infants and Children nutrition program. About 1 in 5 children that age were enrolled in 2016, the Associated Press reported.

The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A previous study of children the same age in the program found at least small declines in obesity in 18 states between 2008 and 2011, but it wasn’t clear if that trend was just a blip, the AP reported.

The new study “gives us more hope that this is a real change,” said Heidi Blanck, head of obesity prevention at the CDC.

Increased availability of fruits, vegetables and whole grains may have contributed to the obesity declines, the researchers said.

Among children ages 2-5 who were not enrolled in the program, obesity rates in 2016 remained stable at about 14% according to Blanck, the AP reported.

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