WIC serves to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, children
by Erin Ellis Registered Nurse
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, better known as the WIC Program, serves to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, & children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care. Established as a pilot program in 1972 and made permanent in 1974, WIC is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Formerly known as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children, WIC’s name was changed under the Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act of 1994, in order to emphasize its role as a nutrition program.
WIC’s goal is to help keep pregnant and breastfeeding women, new moms, and kids under age 5 healthy. To do this, WIC provides: Personalized nutrition education, and counseling, vouchers to obtain healthy foods, tips for eating well, referrals for medical, dental care, and other community resources, also breastfeeding promotion and support.
WIC services are provided through many different agencies. These services include: county health departments, hospitals, mobile clinics (vans), community centers, schools, public housing sites, migrant, health centers and camps, and Indian Health Service facilities.
Since the program began in 1974, WIC has earned the reputation of being one of the most successful Federally-funded nutrition programs in the United States. According to reports, findings, and reviews, the WIC Program is cost effective in protecting and improving the nutritional status of low income pregnant women, infants and children.
Studies have shown that the WIC program plays a vital role in improving birth outcomes. Pregnant women on WIC have fewer premature births,decreased incidence of low birth weight babies, as well as, fewer infant deaths. Other studies have shown improved diet outcomes in children and, infant feeding practices, regular schedule of immunizations rates, and improved cognitive development for young children whose mothers participated in the WIC program.
To apply for WIC, the applicant must meet all of the eligibility requirements, which includes: Categorical, Residential, Income, and Nutrition Risk. To schedule an appointment, contact Sampson County Health Department at 910-592-1131.
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