Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
WIC is one of the federal feeding programs operated by the
U.S. Department of Agriculture and funded by Congress. The program provides
nutritious foods to supplement the diets of low-income women who are pregnant,
postpartum and breastfeeding, as well as children up to age five who are at
nutritional risk. In 2018, 6.9 million Americans participated in the WIC
program, according to the Food
Research and Action Center.
It’s been nearly a decade since Congress updated this program,
but a reauthorization process is now underway. IDFA is calling for changes that
would make dairy products and their nutritional benefits more accessible to WIC
- We’re asking Congress to roll back program restrictions
on reduced-fat (2%) milk, which is the most popular variety. Until the rules
were changed in 2014, WIC mothers with children two years of age and older could
use their benefits to purchase any milk variety.
- We’re also advocating for families to use WIC benefits
to buy yogurt in single-serving sizes instead of 32-ounce containers, which
aren’t available in all neighborhood stores. The change also would allow consumers
to buy more flavors and encourage consumption among family members.
- Studies show that WIC participants, like most
Americans, prefer reduced fat (2%) or whole milk, but now they can only buy
lowfat (1%) or nonfat milk. Also, a 2015 study found that stores in
neighborhoods with a majority of Hispanic and low-income residents were less
likely to carry lowfat (1%) or nonfat milk, restricting purchase options and,
ultimately, milk consumption.
- WIC families need milk’s nine essential
nutrients and want more milk options. Allowing more varieties would help these
families improve their diets and overall health.
- Some states interpret the WIC rules to mean participants
may only buy yogurt in 32-ounce containers. Allowing more purchase flexibility would
make it much easier to buy yogurt in neighborhood stores, find flavors that
suit all members of the family and access the full nutritional benefits of
Congress can improve the health and nutrition of millions of
American families by making these simple program changes. IDFA will continue
its education and advocacy efforts on the Hill during the review process.
For more information, contact Cary Frye, IDFA senior vice president, regulatory affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.