Wednesday, November 1

More Fruit, Less Juice

For the first time since it's inception the WIC program may soon change the food packet it offers participants. The foods offered currently were included when it was founded 32 years ago either because they were considered healthy, or because the lobbyist for that industry succeeded in convincing politicians that their product is healthy. While the food provided is integral to many families well being, the current foods are too high in saturated fats, provide no vegetable and fruit choices, and offer little flexibility for cultural preferences. The current food package is also not at all equipped to address the current childhood obesity crisis, especially among our low-income families who qualify for WIC.

The Institute of Medicine conducted a study and provided USDA with recommendations of how to improve the package of food to better align with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Those recommendations include:
  • including fresh fruits and vegetables
  • limiting saturated fat and cholesterol by offering low fat milk and reduced quantities of cheese and eggs; offering soy milk alternatives
  • decreased quantitites of fruit juice for all participants
  • increased flexibility to include foods for diverse population
The USDA is now accepting comments until November 6th when the public comment period closes and they will finalize their decision. This may be the last chance for another 30 years to provide healthier food for the six million growing children served annually by WIC. If you feel moved by this topic, or have input that may be beneficial, please make your voice heard by emailing - you can find more information here.

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