Thursday, May 14, 2015
Extensive research has found the WIC program to be a cost-effective investment that improves the nutrition and health of low-income families and leads to healthier infants, more nutritious diets, and better health care for children, and subsequently to higher academic achievement for students. Over four decades, researchers have investigated WIC's effects on key measures of child health such as birth weight, infant mortality, diet quality and nutrient intake, initiation and duration of breastfeeding, cognitive development and learning, immunization, use of health services, and childhood anemia. Their findings:
▪ Women who participate in WIC give birth to healthier babies who are more likely to survive infancy.
▪ WIC supports more nutritious diets and better infant feeding practices. WIC participants now buy and eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products, following the introduction of new WIC food packages that are more closely aligned to current dietary guidance.
▪ Low-income children participating in WIC are just as likely to be immunized as more affluent children, and are more likely to receive preventive medical care than other low-income children.
▪ Children whose mothers participated in WIC while pregnant scored higher on assessments of mental development at age 2 than similar children whose mothers did not participate, and they later performed better on reading assessments while in school.
Source: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, 5/4/15, WIC Works