State health officials are soliciting comments from individuals regarding the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Input is needed for the State Plan of Program Operations for the 2014 federal fiscal year. These comments must be received before July 31.
WIC is a federally funded nutrition education and supplemental food program for low income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women, infants, and children up to 5 years of age. Eligibility is determined by nutritional risk and incomes that fall below 185 percent of the poverty level. There are approximately 92,700 Oklahomans participating in the WIC Program each month.
A priority for the program is to make sure pregnant women understand the importance of adequate nutrition throughout their pregnancy. Numerous studies have shown that pregnant women who participate in WIC have longer pregnancies leading to fewer premature births; have fewer low and very low birth-weight babies; experience fewer fetal and infant deaths; seek prenatal care earlier in pregnancy and consume more of such key nutrients as iron, protein, calcium, and vitamins A and C. The WIC Program encourages and supports breastfeeding by providing a wide range of breastfeeding services and support activities to expectant and new mothers.
Another priority for the WIC program is to ensure that mothers and eligible families with young children have the basic nutritional knowledge necessary to assure their children’s proper nutrition intake. WIC provides a monthly prescription of nutritious foods tailored to supplement the dietary needs of participants to ensure good health, growth and development. The foods are specifically chosen to provide consistency with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and established dietary recommendations for infants and children under 5 years of age. The selected foods also reinforce WIC nutrition education messages, address emerging public health nutrition-related issues, and provide wide appeal to the diverse WIC population.
WIC is housed within local county health departments and operates interdependently with other public health programs. Providing referral services to health care and social services, WIC is a “gateway to the health care and social service systems,” which enables more comprehensive health promotion and disease prevention in the WIC population.
Individuals with comments regarding the WIC program should contact:
Terry Bryce, Chief
Oklahoma State Department of Health
2401 NW 23rd Street, Suite 70
Oklahoma City, OK 73107-2475
Phone 1-888-655-2942 or 405-271-4676