WIC Improves Diet and Health Outcomes
How Can WIC Help
Since its beginning in 1974, the WIC program has been said to be one of the most successful federally-funded nutrition programs in the United States. WIC participants have improved diet and health outcomes than those who do not participate. WIC does make a difference!
Improved Birth Outcomes and Savings in Health Care Costs
Research shows that WIC has an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs. Families who enroll in WIC have:
- Longer pregnancies
- Fewer premature births
- Lower incidence of moderately low and very low birth weight infants
- Are more likely to receive early prenatal care
- Savings in health care costs
Improved Diet and Diet-Related Outcomes
Studies have found WIC helps improve the diet of participants. Diet improvements include:
Higher intakes of certain nutrients by all family members. These include:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
Eat fewer meals outside of the house
Lower rate of iron-deficiency anemia
Better understanding and practice of healthy nutrition
Improved Infant Feeding Practices
WIC promotes breastfeeding as the optimal method of infant feeding. Studies show:
- WIC participants who reported having received advice to breastfeed their babies from the WIC clinic were more likely to breastfeed.
Immunization Rates and Regular Source of Medical Care
A regular schedule of immunizations is important for children from birth to 2 years of age. Many low-income children participate in WIC during those early years. Studies have found WIC participants have:
- Improved rates of childhood immunizations
- More consistent medical care
Improved Nutrition Status Before Pregnancy
A woman’s nutrition status before pregnancy affects birth outcome. A woman with enough vitamins and minerals stored in her body is more likely to have a healthy pregnancy. Women who have fewer nutrients stored are more at risk of complications.
A pregnancy can leave women with lower nutrient stores after delivery. Women with more than one child may find their nutrition status is lower. Those women with only a short time between pregnancies also have higher risk of poor nutrition stores. WIC can help improve nutrition status in women. Studies show that:
- Women enrolled in WIC during pregnancy and after delivery delivered infants with higher birth weights in a later pregnancy.
- Women who received services after delivery had higher hemoglobin levels.
- Women receiving WIC services after delivery were less obese at the beginning of a later pregnancy.