CHARLESTON - The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children has added to the allowable foods under the program.
"By expanding the options of whole grain breads, adding a wider selection of private label juices, and the accommodation of evaporated milk demonstrates a continued effort to meet the needs of WIC participants and grocers alike through the WIC Approved Food List," said Program Director Denise Ferris.
West Virginia WIC administrators also hope the additions will help local grocers offer more variety and options that attract shoppers to healthier foods. Lack of access to stores that stock a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods has been identified as a barrier to healthy eating in some communities.
Every two years, the WIC Nutrition Unit reviews the approved foods and selects foods that will improve WIC participants' diets. Allowable foods are selected based on federal regulations, availability, packaging and cost.
WIC, which serves 46,000 women, infants and small children, provides food rich in protein, iron, vitamins C and A, and calcium, all vital for healthy development during pregnancy and early childhood.
"WIC food choices will improve the health of West Virginia mothers and children as well as reduce a child's risk of chronic disease by supporting healthy eating early in life," said Ferris.
Since 1974, the WIC Program has offered participants nutrition assessments, nutrition education, a food package designed to meet their nutrition needs and health care referrals. WIC food packages and nutrition education are the chief means by which WIC affects the dietary quality and habits of participants in addition to promote and support the establishment of successful, long-term breastfeeding.
For information about the new approved food list changes or program, call (304) 558-0030, or visit the website at ons.wvdhhr.org.