Through research and interviews, our group was able to obtain information about the inter-workings of the WIC program. We discovered how helpful this program is, the positive effects it has on pregnant and single low-income mothers and their unborn or young children. In a society where public assistance programs are surrounded by an aura of stigmatism, WIC is a provider of nutritious food, the most frequently purchased infant formula and overall help to those who are working and trying to raise children simultaneously while on a low-income budget.
What is it? The special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children More than 7.5 million people receive WIC benefits each month Purpose is to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk
What is it? (Cont.) Nutritious foods are provided to supplement the diet, nutrition education and counseling, screenings, and referrals to other health, welfare, and social services Available in every state and every county It is a federal block grant program. Congress authorizes a specific amount (5.235 billion in 2005) of funds each year for the program and it is administered by Food and Nutrition Services
Eligibility Must meet the following requirements: Categorical- Pregnant women (through end of pregnancy), breastfeeding (up to infants first birthday), non-breastfeeding postpartum Residential-Applicants must live in the state in which they apply, they may be required to live in a local service area and apply at a WIC clinic that serves that area, applicants are not required to live in the area for a certain amount of time Income- (In )- less than or equal to 185% of the poverty guidelines
Eligibility (Cont.) Nutrition Risk-Applicants must be seen by a nutritionist who determines whether the individual is at nutrition risk. Nutrition risk means that an individual has medical or dietary-based conditions. Examples of medical-based risks include: diabetes, hypertension, anemia, younger than 16, any severe medical condition, short time between pregnancies, etc. Examples of diet-based risks would include: under-or-over weight for height, malnourishment, poor dietary intake, smoking, drugs, etc. Automatic Income Eligibility - Those eligible to receive Food Stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or other state-administered programs
WIC Food Packages Targeted nutrients are protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A & C These tend to be low in the diets of the population that WIC serves WIC determines what foods you can get to meet nutritional needs
Major Foods Provided Milk Juice Cereal Eggs Cheese Peanut butter Carrots (for breastfeeding women only) Tuna (for breastfeeding women only) Beans *The amount and types of foods depend on whether the food is being provided for an infant (up to 12 months), a child up to five years, a pregnant woman, a non- breastfeeding woman (post-partum, up to six months), or a breastfeeding woman (up to one year). Specifications are given for the forms that each food is allowed to be purchased in
Congress appropriated $5.235 billion for WIC in Fiscal Year 2005 $33.69 per person in Ohio per month Approximately 267, 300 caseloads in the State of Ohio 122,884 are children 81,382 are infants 63,034 are women
WIC STATISTICS (cont.) Total of 3464 people receiving WIC aid monthly in 2001 in Allen County 267,300 in Ohio alone in 2004 WIC cannot currently serve all eligible people Approximately 74% of those eligible are served. Once a local WIC agency reaches is max caseload vacancies are filled based WIC determined priority levels Found at (http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/FAQs/faq.htm#7)http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/FAQs/faq.htm#7
WIC STATISTICS (cont.) Residents Served Monthly by WIC Program - Allen County 2001 WomenInfants Children TOTAL White ,1172,472 Black Hispanic American Indian 0000 Asian2226 Other TOTAL8381,0251,6013,464
Reduces fetal deaths and infant mortality Reduces low birth weight rates and increases the duration of pregnancy Improves the growth of nutritionally at-risk infants and children Decreases the incidence of iron deficiency anemia in children Improves the dietary intake of pregnant and postpartum women and improves weight gain in women
WIC BENEFITS (cont) Pregnant women in WIC receive prenatal care earlier Children are more likely to have a regular source of medical care and immunizations Children who receive WIC benefits demonstrate improved intellectual development SIGNIFICANTLY improves childrens diets
WIC BENEFITS (cont) WIC INFANT FORMULA REBATE SYSTEM Mothers are encouraged to breastfeed their children, but WIC State agencies provide infant formula for those who choose not to breastfeed WIC State agencies are legally required to have competitively bid infant formula rebate contracts with infant formula manufacturers Stores are required to supply at least one brand from a number of brands.
WIC BENEFITS (cont) The brand varies based on each States individual rebate contract Due to this requirement State WIC agencies have been able to serve more people. In 2003 rebate savings were $1.52 billion This made it possible for WIC to support approx. 1.9 million extra participants Or, approx. 25% of the estimated average monthly caseload
Typical Grocery List (per month) A woman participant receives 5 gallons of milk, 2 pounds of cheese, 2 dozen eggs, 2 boxes of iron- enriched cereal, 2 gallons of juice and 1 jar of peanut butter OR 1 pound of beans each month. A typical infant that is not breastfeeding receives 31 cans of iron-fortified formula monthly. 1 child receives 4 gallons of milk, 1 pound of cheese, 1 dozen eggs, 2 boxes of iron-enriched cereal, 1 gallon of juice and 1 jar of peanut butter or 1 pound of beans each month.
Process of obtaining WIC foods Potential participant applies through the Ohio Department of Health, where she is issued a coupon based on her health. This coupon entitles her to a certain amount of food in the grocery store per month. She presents the coupon upon purchasing her items, the grocery store then submits it back to the Department of Health, and they reimburse the store for the products.
Vendor Contracts Grocery stores must apply for the right to carry WIC foods, and are granted a contract which is valid for 1-3 years. Before becoming authorized, the administration must attend a WIC training program. 2 types of contracts offered: 1. regular (Ohio Dept. of Health reimburses the actual amount of sale to vendor.) 2. Cost-Containment (grocery store will not accept more than 80% of the lowest cost of the products. For example, the amount printed on the food is $10. The actual sale price of the food is $9.50. The Ohio Dept. of Health reimburses the vendor $8.
Sources Myers, Deborah Prof. Public Health, Nutrition, and Policy Lecture Notes. Bluffton University,