Healthy habits, healthy families with WIC

By: By Erin Ellis, RN - Sampson County Health Department

For young children, a lack of good nutrition can put them at risk for health problems and problems in school. North Carolina’s WIC program, which is a part of the USDA, helps low-income families meet the nutritional needs of pregnant, post-partum women, infants and children up to age five.

WIC offers families nutrition education, counseling and breastfeeding promotion and support, along with supplemental foods, and even healthcare referrals.

The North Carolina WIC Program currently serves an average of 225,829 participants each month. Studies show that children who participate in WIC are more likely to receive regular preventive health services and are better immunized than children who did not participate in WIC.

Breastfeeding promotion and support is an important part of the WIC Program. All WIC agencies have trained staff ready to assist moms in making informed decisions about how they feed their babies. WIC also teaches moms the basics of breastfeeding.

Better educated moms mean healthier babies. Medicaid beneficiaries who participated in WIC had lower infant mortality rates than Medicaid beneficiaries who did not participate in WIC. WIC participation also decreases the incidence of low birth weight and pre-term births. The nutrition education and healthy foods that WIC provides really give children a healthy start in life, which is so important.

For more information about WIC or to make an appointment, you may call or visit the Sampson County Health Department at 360 County Complex Road, Suite 200 Clinton, NC 28328. You may apply Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. or call 910-592-1131, ext. 4201, 4225, 4251 or 4242. The applicant must meet all of the eligibility requirements, which includes: Categorical: A participant must be a pregnant woman, a non-breastfeeding woman up to six months postpartum, a breastfeeding woman up to one year postpartum, an infant, or child up to the fifth birthday.

Residential: A participant must live in the State of North Carolina and in the health services delivery area of the local agency.

Income: A participant must have a gross annual income at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty line. All Medicaid, TANF (Work First), and Food and Nutrition Services recipients are automatically income-eligible for WIC (i.e., adjunctively eligible).

Nutrition Risk: A participant must have an identified medical/nutritional risk problem, as determined by a competent professional authority (CPA). Risks include anemia, poor growth, previous poor pregnancy outcome, inadequate diet, and other nutrition-related problems.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

By Erin Ellis, RN

Sampson County Health Department