The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk.
WIC provides healthy foods to supplement the dietary needs of participants to ensure good health, growth and development. The foods are chosen to provide protein, fiber, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C – nutrients likely to be missing from their regular diets. With the proper nutrients, women can help reduce the risk of premature birth and low birth weights, both of which can cause mental retardation, neurological problems, lung deformities and many future health-related problems for newborns.
The eligible WIC participants will receive a monthly package tailored to enhance their health and meet their special dietary needs. The foods are specifically chosen to provide nutrients that have been scientifically shown to be lacking or needed in extra amounts in the diets of the WIC population.The amounts and types of foods WIC provides was redesigned in 2009 to include fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grain foods.
Health professionals also provide nutritional education to all who are enrolled in the WIC program. The goal is to teach participants how to use the WIC supplemental foods wisely and how to build good food habits. By educating the new mothers during their pregnancy, they can improve their health and their family health for life.
...."Our goal is to improve health during times of growth and development and prevent future health problems. We want to make sure these women learn healthy habits and receive nutritious foods in order to get the proper nutrients and improve their family’s overall health”, Jeanette Salazar, WIC director for San Ysidro Health Center.