Supplemental Program for WIC

By: Amy Bingham
By: Amy Bingham

A supplemental food program for women, infants and children is getting an update.

For the past thirty years, the United States Department Of Agriculture has offered the WIC program to at-risk pregnant moms, post-partum moms, breast feeding moms and children under the age of five. Families must meet income and nutritional risk requirements, but Medicaid recipients automatically qualify.

So far the food offered through the program has been limited to items like milk, eggs and peanut butter, but coordinators say it's time for a change.

Luz Castillo is a translator for the Barren River District Health Department. She's also the mother of two and has been a WIC participant for the last six years.

The USDA is proposing expanding the list of approved items to include fruits and vegetables, whole grains like bread, brown rice and tortillas, even soy milk and tofu could be added.

To view a full list of the revised food packages click here.

Castillo said it would be a welcome change for the area's diverse population.

The proposal would tighten restrictions on infants, deleting juice from the list of approved items and proposing to not give supplemental formula to breastfed babies until one month of age. But overall coordinators said additions like canned beans and canned fish will ultimately help address growing public health nutrition-related issues.

That's why the health department offers programs like WIC encouraging women, infants and children to eat more fruits and vegetables, more whole grains and decrease saturated fat.

The USDA is accepting comments on these proposed changes through Nov. 6, 2006.

To find out how to express your thoughts on the matter, visit http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic.

Once the final ruling is made, states will have one year to implement the changes.


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