Office of Nutrition Services

Women, Infants & Children Program (WIC)

WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. WIC was established in 1972, as a pilot project following a national survey that found anemia and inadequate growth to be common among American children in low-income families. In 1974, WIC was established as a discretionary program, available throughout the United States.  WIC is primarily funded through the United States Department of Agriculture. It is administered by the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health, Office of Nutrition Services.

WIC is a federally funded discretionary program. It provides services to as many eligible individuals as funding allows. WIC focuses on the link between good nutrition and good health. In West Virginia, eight local contract agencies provide direct participant services.

WICís goal is to identify and correct nutritional deficiencies which, if left untreated, could lead to a poor quality of life for our citizens. As a part of the Bureau for Public Health, WIC regulations have not been directly affected by welfare reform legislation. WIC can be an effective partner with social service programs to assist working families in providing for their children. Supplemental food, when packaged with sound nutrition advice can help parents insure their children are receiving a good foundation for a healthy life.

With todayís focus on education, the WIC Program becomes even more relevant in the lives of children. The demonstrated benefits of the WIC Program provide dramatic evidence that efforts to achieve success in the classroom can begin long before a child enters kindergarten. Beginning with prenatal care and encouragement to breastfeed followed by education about nutrition for toddlers and preschoolers, research findings show that WIC children had better vocabulary and number memory scores than their non-WIC peers. The effects of iron deficiency anemia on childrenís ability to learn has also been well-documented. The WIC Program strives to eliminate iron-deficiency anemia in low income children.

Participation in WIC also results in Medicaid savings. Women who receive WIC services have better birth outcomes than their non-WIC peers. Babies are less likely to be born prematurely, mothers are more likely to receive adequate prenatal health care, and infant and fetal mortality rates decline.

Direct WIC services are intended to identify and correct nutrition problems during critical stages of growth and development. While WIC focuses on prevention as an adjunct to health care, WIC staff are often the first to identify problems which require follow-up care. WIC intervention results in health care savings.

WIC services include:

  • Nutrition counseling and education
  • Breastfeeding promotion and support
  • Health screening
  • Medical and social service referrals
  • Monthly food packages

For more information about WIC:

In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability.

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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