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The Women, Infant And Children Supplemental Nutritional Program

2988 words - 12 pages

The Women, Infant and Children Supplemental Nutritional Program was brought into legislation to provide supplemental food and nutrition to women of a lower income who are pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum and children under age 5. WIC has a goal of increasing healthy birth outcomes of women from lower incomes. WIC also wants to improve health of eligible participants during times of important growth and development in infants and children. WIC provides participants with milk, whole grains, iron fortified cereals, and fruits and vegetables. WIC provides approved supplemental nutritious food, nutrition educations and referrals to health and other social services. It is administered through approximately 47,000 authorized retailers and 90 state agencies.
In the 1960’s issues of women and their children of lower incomes succumbing to malnutrition started to arise and attract political attention. Children were suffering from malnutrition at an increasingly alarming rate. Women were at a comparative disadvantage and were not able to afford the important supplemental foods to ensure a proper diet for themselves and their children which can cause health issues. Malnutrition can cause developmental problems in a child’s brain causing learning difficulties. There were already food programs that were offered by public schools, because it was believed most children would receive all meals eaten from school, but this left out younger children who were not yet in school. “In 1995 estimate that the cost of caring for an infant weighing less than 2,500 grams at birth averages $15,000 in the first year, almost eight times more than the cost of caring for an infant weighing more than 2,500 grams. Additionally, children born with low birth weight face greater risks of many diseases and disabilities later in life (Paneth, 1995; Hack et al. 1995). Because many mothers who have poor birth outcomes also have low income and no private health insurance, government programs such as Medicaid frequently pay the significant cost of caring for premature or low birth weight infants (Devaney et al. 1992). In order to improve the nutritional health and birth outcomes of low-income woman, the U.S. government introduced the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children in 1974”(Baer, p. 1). Women were becoming pregnant and not being able to eat the important nutrients needed during pregnancy to ensure fetal growth, and so the mother would also stay healthy. Officials with the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare and the United States Department of Agriculture met with a group of physicians in 1968. The main concerns of the physicians were complications in pregnancy due to malnutrition. In 1969 the United States Department of Agriculture established the Supplemental Food Program, which granted food to infants, children up to age six and low—income pregnant women. It was soon realized that while it was helping children get...

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