Wic Program Essay

1027 words - 5 pages

A Summary of the Woman, Infants, Children Nutritional Services Program
Margaret Russell

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Nutritional Services is a federal program that provides health care and proper nutrition to low income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women during a crucial time for both mothers and babies. The mission of WIC is to “safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care.” (Food and Nutrition Service, 2010).
Services are provided through various health clinics, hospitals, schools, community ...view middle of the document...

(Shepherd, 2008). According to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (2010), a main component of the WIC program focuses on maternal nutrition during pregnancy. Eligible mothers in the WIC program undergo an initial nutritional screening to allow for early detection of deficiencies and risks that later contribute to poor growth and health in infants. (New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, 2010). Participants are provided with nutritionists and counselors to develop a plan to eliminate any risks to the health of the mother and child. WIC also promotes a healthy lifestyle to prevent complications and disease during pregnancy and birth. Low maternal weight and poor weight gain in pregnancy have also been shown to add to the risk of preterm birth, low birth weight and failure to initiate breast-feeding . Lack of proper nutrition during pregnancy can cause potential health problems for the child later in life, including cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. (Shepherd, 2008). According to Anne Ross, babies born to mothers with nutritionally-deficient diets are more likely to suffer from impaired brain development, low birth weight, and higher risk of disease development especially during early childhood. (2003). The WIC program allows for women to be referred to many public services including home care and social workers. WIC collaborates with various nutritional programs such as the Office of Nutrition and Fitness, Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program, and National Fruit and Vegetable Program to make certain proper nutrition is available to women in the program. (Food and Nutrition Service, 2010).
WIC has been found to be successful in improving the health of pregnant women, postpartum women, and their infants. Statistically, those who had participated in the program were found to have had lower health care costs for themselves and their infants compared to women who did not participate in the program (K. Kachur, personal communication, October 2, 2010). Women involved in the WIC program have longer gestational periods, higher birth weights and reduced infant mortality rates when compared to those who did not participate in the program. (New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, 2010). Benefits of the WIC program include better prenatal care, reduction in premature...

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