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Kentucky WIC Implements New Nutrition Guidelines

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Kentucky Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program has become one of the first in the nation to implement new guidelines to improve nutritional and health standards for clients.

Effective May 1, the new guidelines alter the type or amount of food that can be purchased through WIC, in an effort to improve the nutrition and health of the nation’s low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children.

The changes align the WIC food packages with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. They reflect recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in its report, “WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change.”

“These changes reflect what is best for the health of Kentuckians,” said Kentucky WIC Director Fran Hawkins. “We all know that nutrition plays an important role in our health. This is one more way Public Health is working to ensure nutritious foods are a part of Kentuckians’ diets.”

The WIC food packages provide supplemental foods designed to meet the special nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants and children up to five years of age who are at nutritional risk.

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The revised food packages retain the same food categories previously allowed under WIC, but add new food categories and optional substitutions for some current food categories to better meet the needs of WIC’s diverse population including:

- Addition of fresh fruits and vegetables.

- Requiring women and children older than 2 years old to receive lowfat milk.

- Addition of whole grains (cereals, bread and other whole grains).

- Reductions in some food allowances, including milk, eggs and juice.

The new WIC food packages were designed to cost no more than those that have been replaced. Staff from the Department for Public Health (DPH) conducted trainings throughout April for local health departments and all authorized retailers in preparation for the implementation.