WIC nutrition changes coming soon

The USDA has recently released new WIC regulations that will go into effect May 5, 2014.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has released new guidelines focusing on increasing access to fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. The new guidelines will go into effect May 5, 2014. There has not been a revision to the WIC food packages in nearly 30 years. Over 8.5 million participants receive WIC benefits each month.

Changes within the revision include:

  • More than a 30 percent increase in the dollar amount for fruit and vegetable purchases for children.
  • Expansion of whole grain options available.
  • Providing yogurt as a partial milk alternative for children and women.
  • Allowing the option for parents of older infants to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in place of jarred infant food.
  • Allow for states and local WIC agencies to meet the nutritional and cultural needs of their participants such as allowing a cultural specific food into the food package.

The goal is for the WIC food packages to better align with the recommendations of the National Academies Institute of Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Recent research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified changes to the WIC food packages as a contributing factor in the decline in low-income preschooler’s obesity rates.

Michigan State University Extension offers nutrition education programs to adults with children as well as mothers who are breastfeeding. The Breastfeeding Initiative, in collaboration with Michigan WIC, empowers and supports mothers throughout the first year of their infant’s life. The program combines the strengths of MSU Extension and WIC in an effort to reverse declining breastfeeding rates among low-income women. Adults can also take advantage of the Eat Healthy · Be Active six week program that teaches adults the skills needed to make healthy eating and regular physical activity a part of their lifestyle. This program promotes health and can help to reduce the risk of obesity and major chronic diseases.

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