More families than ever are finding it hard to put healthy food on their dinner tables. For young children, a lack of good nutrition can put them at risk for health problems and problems in school. North Carolina’s WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program helps low-income families meet the nutritional needs of pregnant and post-partum women, infants and children up to age 5.
“While adding more fruits and vegetables to these families’ diets is an important part of our program, participants get more than food from WIC,” Joan Wagoner, RD/LDN, WIC Director said. “WIC offers families nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding promotion and support, supplemental foods, and even healthcare referrals.”
The North Carolina WIC Program currently serves an average of 270,000 participants each month. Studies show that children who participate in WIC are more likely to receive regular preventive health services and are better immunized than children who did not participate in WIC.
WIC participants receive helpful one-on-one counseling with a nutrition professional. Group nutrition classes may also be offered by trained staff on topics ranging from healthy drink choices to grocery shopping on a budget.
Breastfeeding promotion and support is an important part of the WIC Program. All WIC agencies have trained staff ready to assist moms in making informed decisions about how they feed their babies. WIC also teaches moms the basics of breastfeeding.
Better educated moms mean healthier babies. Medicaid beneficiaries who participated in WIC had lower infant mortality rates than Medicaid beneficiaries who did not participate in WIC. WIC participation also decreases the incidence of low birth weight and pre-term births.
“WIC is so much more than people realize,” said Wagoner. “The nutrition education and healthy foods that WIC provides really give children a healthy start in life, which is so important. Even if your own children are grown, please tell your friends and neighbors, even your own family members with young children about the many benefits WIC provides.”
The WIC Program is available at the Yadkin County Health Department, 217 East Willow Street, Yadkinville. For more information about WIC or to make an appointment, please call the Yadkin County Health Department, WIC Program at 679-4203, Ext. 4. You may also visit the Health Department Website at www.yadkincountync.gov or the WIC Website at www.nutritionnc.com
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