Thursday, September 18, 2014
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a highly successful nutrition education program.
The Ohio WIC Program serves families up to 185% of the Department of Health and Human Services poverty income guidelines. The somewhat liberal guidelines make it possible for many working families to quality for WIC services.
WIC participants are issued coupons at each visit to purchase specific foods at local grocery stores that are contracted to accept WIC coupons. WIC foods are high in one or more of the following nutrients: protein, calcium, iron, fiber, and vitamins A and C. These are the nutrients frequently lacking in the diets of the program’s target population. Different food packages are provided for different categories of participants.
The new WIC food package, which was implemented in October, 2009 includes many healthy changes. Participants may receive milk (low fat only for anyone over age 2), eggs, juice, peanut butter, cereal, canned and dry beans, canned tuna or salmon (fully breastfeeding women only), whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. Infants receive infant formula in amounts that are based on the amount of breast milk the infant receives as well as the infants’ age. Infants over six months also receive infant cereal, jarred baby food fruits and vegetables. Special infant formulas and certain medical foods may be provided when prescribed by a physician or health professional for a specified medical condition.
Happy 40th Birthday WIC!
The national WIC program celebrated its 40th birthday, Wednesday, January 15, 2014. The first project opened in Pineville, Kentucky, with Ohio’s program beginning a few weeks later. Dayton was one of the original pilot sites. In that first year, 1974, Ohio had total funding in the amount of $757,340 and served 10, 175 participants in 18 project sites in the state. By 1984, Ohio WIC had grown to be statewide. In 2013, participation averaged 263,684 per month, with an overall federal grant of $182 million and another $64 million in infant formula and infant food rebates. Montgomery County is the 6th largest WIC project in the state and served an average of 12,200 participants per month in 2013, with an annual budget of $2,013,357.
With USDA’s approval of Ohio WIC’s Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Implementation Advanced Planning Document and the Quality Assurance RFP in 2013, Ohio WIC looks forward to continued development and EBT pilot testing during 2014 with a goal of 2015 statewide implementation. In addition during 2014, with breastfeeding skills advancement training, Alcohol Screening Brief Intervention (ASBI), and smoking cessation projects, Ohio WIC continues its work on improving wellness and health outcomes, and combating infant mortality, obesity, and hunger.
The National WIC Association’s(NWA) theme for the 40th Anniversary of WIC—WIC: Strengthening Families for 40 Years—helps showcase how the WIC Program is one of our country’s most important public health programs, and how it has enriched the lives of millions of families over the years. We will be spotlighting the four main service elements of WIC, their roles in the program, and their proven track records of improving healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes, reducing infant mortality, and preparing kids to be ready to learn. Check out WICturns40.org for more information.
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