Nutritious dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese make up the most commonly purchased food group among mothers and families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). In addition to being the most popular products, dairy foods provide mothers, infants, and children with 13 essential nutrients needed for growth and development at the critical life stages surrounding pregnancy, birth, and early childhood. At the same time, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlights that nearly 90 percent of Americans do not consume enough dairy to meet dietary recommendations.
Find out why 20% of WIC moms are ready to drop out of the program.
The WIC program serves close to 6 million moms, babies, and young children with specialized nutrition and nutrition education, including roughly half of all infants, in the United States. The USDA recently proposed to cut the amount of dairy provided through the WIC food package by up to 6 quarts per month, depending on the participant, with the largest reduction for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
According to a recent IDFA-Morning Consult poll, a staggering three-in-four WIC participants (76%) said they are concerned with the USDA proposal. One-third (35%) say they will need to use non-WIC funds to cover purchases of milk and dairy. One-quarter (26%) say the reduction will make their shopping for milk and dairy products harder.
At a time of rising food costs and high food insecurity, we should focus on increasing access to a wide variety of healthful, nutrient-dense, and affordable foods, including both fresh produce and dairy products. It’s disappointing that the proposed rule would limit WIC family purchasing power for nutritious dairy foods, particularly at a time like this.
The same IDFA-Morning Consult polling shows that 20% of WIC participants would choose not to re-enroll in the program should USDA follow through with the cuts to milk and dairy benefits. Roughly one-third (34%) were unsure if they would re-enroll in the program following the proposed cuts.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans highlights that nearly 90 percent of Americans do not consume enough dairy to meet dietary recommendations. WIC is central to helping ensure pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children have access to the nutrients needed for growth and development at the critical life stages surrounding pregnancy, birth, and early childhood.
The vast body of nutrition science demonstrates that nutritious dairy products like milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese are especially important in the diets of women, infants, and children. Dairy is a source of 13 essential nutrients, including three of the four nutrients of public health concern as noted by the DGA, which is why dairy has always played a significant role in the WIC program.
Find out more about how #DairyNourishes here.