CHARLESTON, W. Va. – The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Office of Nutrition Services announced on Friday the U.S. Department of Agriculture has finalized changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children which expands access to fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
“The updated guidelines provide a $2 increase in the monthly amount for children’s fruits and vegetable purchases, from $6 to $8 per month,” Dr. Letitia Tierney, State Health Officer and Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health said. “The changes expand whole grain options available to participants beginning this fall, and will allow states more flexibility in meeting the nutritional and cultural needs of WIC participants.”
The updated USDA food package made science-based decisions in determining what food items should be in the WIC food package. The revisions reflect public comments submitted and also aligns them more closely with updated nutrition science based on recommendations of the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Infant feeding guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics were also taken into account in the update.
WIC provides pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants and children up to age five with nutritious, supplemental foods. The program also provides nutrition and breastfeeding education and referral to health and social services.
Recent research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified changes to the WIC food packages as a contributing factor to the decline in obesity rates among low-income preschoolers.
More than 45,000 West Virginians receive WIC benefits each month.
To learn more about WIC services or how to apply for benefits, call 304-558-0030, or the local WIC office. More information can be found online at http://ons.wvdhhr.org/.