The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
January 7, 2009
As part of a national effort to improve nutrition among low-income women and children, some states have begun efforts to improve their Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food programs to reflect healthier nutrition guidelines, the Associated Press reports. Beginning October 2010, the WIC program, which provides food vouchers for pregnant and postpartum women and their children under age 5, will change its nutrition standards to more closely align with federal dietary recommendations. In anticipation of the change, the New York State Health Department used dietary guidelines issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics to refocus its program. Under the dietary changes, foods such as whole grain breads and cereals, canned or dried beans, and jarred baby foods will be made available to WIC recipients. In addition, beneficiaries can receive cash-value checks to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The update to the stateâ€™s WIC program also calls for whole milk to be provided only to children between 12 and 24 months, and for all women and children older than age 2 to receive vouchers that cover only the cost of skim or 1 percent milk.