WIC santa cruz
July 2019

Families Grow Healthy with WIC: Birth Matters July 2019

By Dana Wagner, MS RD IBCLC, Assistant Director, Community Bridges WIC Program

This is not just WIC’s motto, it is backed by research. Recent studies highlight how participation in the (WIC) Program is associated with healthier outcomes and cost savings1,2.

The 2009 changes to the WIC Food Package, which added more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and tailored infant formula amounts based

WIC santa cruz

on age and need, have resulted in healthier growth trajectories and are associated with improved childhood obesity outcomes at age 4. These findings were consistent in two recent studies, one of over 180,000 children served by WIC in Los Angeles2 and the other comparing childhood obesity rates nationwide1. Not surprisingly, the beneficial health effects were greatest among children who enrolled in WIC at birth.

In addition, a recent study demonstrated that prenatal participation in WIC reduces the risk of adverse health outcomes, including prematurity, and results in health care savings3. The study found that every $1 spent on WIC resulted in a mean saving of $2.48 in medical, educational and productivity costs. A 10% increase in prenatal WIC enrollment would prevent 141 preterm births and achieve additional cost-savings of $6.5 million nationwide. Further savings could be achieved if all eligible women were enrolled in WIC.

WIC offers nutrition education, breastfeeding counseling and support and nutritious foods to prenatal and post-partum women, infants and children up to age 5. Families earning up to 185% of the Federal Poverty Level meet WIC income eligibility and those receiving Medi-Cal, TANF and/or CalFresh automatically qualify. WIC education is offered over-the-phone, individually, on-line and in groups, with flexible scheduling to meet the needs of every client. For information about WIC and WIC services: 831-722-7121 or https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CFH/DWICSN/Pages/AboutWIC.aspx.

Join the Community Bridges WIC Program, Friday, August 23rd from 3pm – 6 pm at the Watsonville City Plaza for our 13th annual Breastfeeding Health Fair and Walk. Learn more about WIC services and help support our mission to provide every eligible family with the healthiest start in life.

1Daepp, Madeleine I.G., Gortmaker, Steven L., Wang, Y. Claire, Long, Michael W. and Kenney, Erica L. WIC Food Package Changes: Trends in Childhood Obesity Prevalence. Pediatrics: May 219, Volume 143, Issue 5.

2Chaparro, M. Pia, Crespi, Catherine M, Anderson, Christopher E., Wang, May C. and Whaley, Shannon E. The 2009 Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food package change and children’s growth trajectories and obesity in Los Angeles County. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 109, Issue 5, 1 May 2019, Pages 1414–1421.

3Nianogo, Roch A., Wang, May C., Bsuro-Davil, Ricardo, Nobari, Tabashir Z., Prelip, Michael, Onyebuchi, A. Arah, and Whaley, Shannon E. Economic evaluation of California prenatal participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to prevent preterm birth. Prevention Medicine, Volume 124, July 2019, Pages 42-49.

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