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What is WIC?
WIC provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and referrals to health and other social services to participants at no charge.  WIC serves low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, and infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk.  WIC is a Federal grant program for which Congress authorizes a specific amount of funding each year for program operations. 

Who is eligible?
      Pregnant or postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5 are eligible.  They must meet income guidelines, a state residency requirement, and be individually determined to be at "nutrition risk" by a health professional.  To be eligible on the basis of income, applicants' income must fall at or below 185 percent of the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines (currently $42,643 for a family of four).  A person who participates or has family members who participate in certain other benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, automatically meets the income eligibility requirement.

What is "nutrition risk?"
Two major types of nutrition risk are recognized for WIC eligibility:

Medically-based risks such as anemia, underweight, overweight, history of pregnancy complications, or poor
                pregnancy outcomes.
Dietary risks, such as failure to meet the dietary guidelines or inappropriate nutrition practices.

What food benefits do WIC participants receive?
In most WIC agencies, WIC participants receive checks or vouchers to purchase specific foods each month that are designed to supplement their diets with specific nutrients that benefit WIC's target population.  WIC recognizes and promotes breastfeeding as the optimal source of nutrition for infants.  For women who do not fully breastfeed, WIC provides iron-fortified infant formula.  Special infant formulas and medical foods may be provided when prescribed by a physician for a specified medical condition.

                        This is what a fully breastfed baby receives         This is what a fully breastfeeding mother receives
                         a month on WIC.                                               a month on WIC.

                           This is what a mostly breastfed baby                This is what a mostly breastfeeding mother
                            receives a month on WIC.                               receives a month on WIC.

How does WIC support breastfeeding?
         Since a major goal of the WIC Program is to improve the nutritional status of infants, WIC mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their infants, unless medically contraindicated.

  • WIC mothers who breastfeed their infants are provided information and support through counseling and breastfeeding educational materials.

  • Breastfeeding mothers receive a greater quantity and variety of foods than mothers who fully formula feed their infants, with mothers fully breastfeeding their infants receiving the most substantial food package.

  • Breastfeeding mothers are eligible to participate in WIC longer than non-breastfeeding mothers.

  • Breastfeeding mothers may receive follow-up support through certified breastfeeding educators.

  • Breastfeeding mothers may receive breast pumps and other aides to help support the initiation and continuation of breastfeeding.

If you want to learn more about WIC or schedule an appointment, please call the Health Department today.



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