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
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
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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