The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began working with states in 1972 to develop a system for continuously monitoring key indicators regarding nutritional status of low-income children in the United States who participate in publicly funded health and nutrition programs. This system known as the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS) utilizes already available data collected from health, nutrition and food assistance programs for infants and children, such as growth measurements and hemoglobin concentrations.

Missouri PedNSS data sets include records of low-income infants and children that participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) only. Thus, the data describe the nutritional status of the infants and children who participate in WIC only, not the entire population of infants and children in the state.

State health departments participating in PedNSS submit data monthly to CDC on computer tapes or disks. These data are analyzed at CDC semiannually and annually, and summaries are returned to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for data analysis and use in program planning, management and evaluation of state and local maternal and child health programs and activities. CDC routinely generates twelve tables. These tables are summarized by state, region, county and clinic-specific information. Table summaries of national data are also received.