Magazine article Amber Waves

WIC Participation Continues to Decline

Magazine article Amber Waves

WIC Participation Continues to Decline

Article excerpt

USDA's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental food, nutrition education, and health care referrals to low-income, nutritionally-at-risk, pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women as well as infants and children up to age 5. In fiscal 2016, an average of 7.7 million people per month participated in the program, 4 percent fewer than the previous year. This was the fewest number of participants in 13 years. Since peaking in fiscal 2010, the number of participants has decreased by 16 percent.

With annual Federal expenditures of $5.9 billion in fiscal 2016, WIC is the Nation's third-largest food and nutrition assistance program. WIC is based on the premise that early intervention during critical times of growth and development can help prevent future medical and developmental problems. On average, about half of all infants in the United States, over a quarter of all pregnant and postpartum women, and over a quarter of all children under age 5 participate in the program. …

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