Special WIC A worldwide
USA’s WIC Program Invests in Healthier Nutrition for Low-Income Families
Nutritious foods, nutrition and breastfeeding education, and improved healthcare access for low and moderate income women and young children with, or at risk of developing, nutrition-related health problems, are the core focus for WIC services — the USA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
WIC – administered by 12,200 state and local WIC agencies and clinics under the sponsorship of the US Department of Agriculture – serves just over 8 million incomequalified, nutritionally at-risk mothers and young children, including 53% of the USA’s infants and one-quarter of its children 1–5 years of age, at an average monthly per participant food cost in 2015 of US$43.56.
WIC foods – including fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruit and vegetables, prepared baby fruit, vegetables, and meats, low-fat dairy, whole grain cereals and bread, light tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel, canned and dried beans, peanut butter, eggs, juice, and iron-fortified infant formula – are specifically selected for their nutritional value to supplement the nutrients found lacking in the diets of low-income populations.
WIC families use cash value vouchers to purchase healthy fruit and vegetable options in retail settings or at farmers’ markets and food instruments (paper or electronic tools issued by WIC clinics for WIC eligible foods) to purchase prepared baby fruit and vegetables. Researchers are keenly interested in the success of fruit and vegetable uptakes since WIC began to include these in 2009. We are pleased to share three examples of their research.