Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service is proposing changes to the foods prescribed to participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC. These science-based revisions incorporate recommendations from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.
The WIC food packages are specifically designed to supplement the foods and beverages participants already consume and fill in key nutritional gaps to support healthy growth and development. Food and Nutrition Service, or FNS, is proposing changes to align the food packages with the latest nutrition science and support equitable access to nutritious foods during critical life stages.
Taken collectively, the changes will increase the current level of assistance while providing WIC state agencies with more flexibility to tailor the packages to accommodate personal and cultural food preferences and special dietary needs and increase variety and choice for WIC participants, making the program more appealing for current and potential participants.
“USDA is committed to advancing maternal and child health through WIC, helping mothers, babies and young kids thrive,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “These proposed changes will strengthen WIC – already an incredibly powerful program – by ensuring it provides foods that reflect the latest nutrition science to support healthy eating and bright futures.”
“For the more than 6 million moms, babies and young children who participate in WIC – and the millions more eligible to participate – these proposed revisions have the potential to make positive, life-long impacts on health and well-being,” said Stacy Dean, deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services.
The proposed revisions support fruit and vegetable consumption by increasing the amount provided and the varieties available for purchase. Congress previously implemented a significant but temporary boost to the benefit provided to WIC participants for purchasing fruits and vegetables. FNS proposes making that increase permanent, providing participants with up to four times the amount they would otherwise receive. FNS also proposes revisions that give participants a greater variety of fruits and veggies to choose from and adjust the quantity of juice to reflect nutrition guidance, which emphasizes whole fruits and vegetables.
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