March is National Nutrition Month. Throughout the month, USDA will be highlighting results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) helps build a foundation of healthy eating that continues for a lifetime.
WIC helps moms from the start of their pregnancy grow healthy babies by providing the right mix of nutritious, scientifically-based supplemental foods; promoting healthy eating through nutrition education and counseling; and connecting expectant moms and caregivers to resources such as prenatal care and referrals to other health and social services. WIC continues to provide benefits after moms deliver and to their baby as she/he grows into a toddler and up to age five!
At WIC, we know breastfeeding is best – that’s why even before the baby is born, WIC helps moms plan for feeding once the baby arrives. WIC promotes and supports breastfeeding to all moms and moms-to-be as the standard way of feeding their baby, unless medically contraindicated. Moms that choose to fully breastfeed their babies receive support to help meet their breastfeeding goals and also receive the largest quantity and variety of foods in the WIC Program!
WIC food packages, along with individualized nutrition education, directly impact the overall diet quality and eating habits of WIC participants. Participants are provided healthy food choices, including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, which provide key nutrients for growth and development.
WIC staff help participants learn about the healthy foods they receive, including how these foods can contribute towards helping them meet their overall dietary needs. Group classes on various nutrition topics, food preparation and cooking demonstrations are some of the fun ways that WIC helps participants establish healthy eating patterns that last a lifetime! The lessons learned form the foundation for parents and caregivers to continue making healthy decisions for themselves and their growing family after leaving the program.
It’s no surprise that WIC continues to serve as one of the nation’s most successful, cost-effective and important public health programs. Let WIC be a part of a lifetime of healthy eating for you and your family! Contact your state WIC agency to find out more about WIC in your area.