CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – Women, infants, and children using the WIC program in West Virginia are said to have access to more resources and preventive health care. Now, the program is tackling nutrition to improve the health of its clients.
The government WIC program for women, infants and children has made changes in its nutrition program over the last 10 years and the results are in.
“From 2000 to 2009, the obesity rates were increasing and then from 2009 to 2014, in a five year span, they saw those rates decreasing,” said Jason Nguyen, Registered Dietitian for WIC.
The 2009 revisions allowed for more money for fresh fruits and veggies and placed restrictions on buying processed foods and whole milk.
“They saw some benefits with gestational age or going closer to due dates. They saw reduction in some harmful things that can hurt the baby like preeclampsia which is high blood pressure and some other issues so just by changing some of the WIC foods they are seeing lots of benefits already,” explained Nguyen.
Now, nutritionists are looking for what changes can be made in the next 10 years so that they can build on these healthy improvements.
“Likely, offering less juice and maybe more fruit and vegetables. Like I said, for a mother or for a woman in our program, they get $10 for the month but we know that $10 may only last a week or a couple days even,” added Nguyen.
Outside of nutrition, changes in aesthetics have helped recipients prosper with the WIC program.
“Is that people like using a WIC card which is like a debit card a lot better than the paper checks. The paper checks were more time consuming. With the WIC card, it is more convenient and more private,” said Nguyen.
For more information on WIC programs in West Virginia, just visit www.dhhr.wv.gov.