MASON COUNTY — The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, also known as WIC, announced it began offering additional allowable foods on Feb. 1.
In offering more food options, West Virginia WIC administrators hope the additions will help local grocers offer more variety and options that attract shoppers to healthier foods. Lack of access to stores that stock a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and other healthy foods has been identified as a barrier to healthy eating in some communities.
“By expanding the options of whole grain breads, adding a wider selection of private label juices, and the accommodation of evaporated milk demonstrates a continued effort to meet the needs of WIC participants and grocers alike through the WIC Approved Food List,” explained State Program Director Denise Ferris.
In West Virginia WIC, the specific allowable foods are selected for inclusion in the food packages based on federal regulations, statewide availability, packaging and cost. Every two years, the State WIC Nutrition Unit reviews the approved foods list and selects specific foods that will improve the diet of WIC participants. The 46,000 women, infants and young children participating in the WV WIC Program will continue to be able to receive a variety of foods rich in protein, iron, vitamins C and A, and calcium, which are vital to healthy development during pregnancy and early childhood.
“WIC food choices will improve the health of West Virginia mothers and children as well as reduce a child’s risk of chronic disease by supporting healthy eating early in life,” Ferris said.
The WIC Program has offered participants nutrition assessments, nutrition education, a food package designed to meet their nutrition needs since 1974, and health care referrals that have continually resulted in better health outcomes. Ultimately, WIC food packages and nutrition education are the chief means by which WIC affects the dietary quality and habits of participants in addition to promote and support the establishment of successful, long-term breastfeeding.
For more information about the new approved food list changes or the WV WIC Program, contact the Mason County WIC Office by phone at 304-675-5279, or visit ons.wvdhhr.org. The Mason County WIC office has clinics on Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 8 a.m to 4 p.m.