June 5, 2008

WIC Income Restrictions Reduced to Help More Women, Infants and Children

Expecting mothers, or those with children under the age of five received a little relief from rising food costs last week when the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Bureau of Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Nutrition Services announced new income guidelines for the WIC Program.

WIC is a supplemental nutrition program, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provided at no cost to eligible moms, babies and children whose family income does not exceed 185% of the poverty level. Its goal is to improve health by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets; offering education on healthy eating, nutrition and breastfeeding; and making referrals to other services.

If the family income does not exceed the following amounts for the size of family, the family now qualifies for WIC:

Family of 1 $19,240; Family of 2 $25,900; Family of 3 $32,560; Family of 4 $39,220; Family of 5 $45,800, Family of 6 $52,540; Family of 7 $59,200; Family of 8 $65,860; Family of 9 $72,520; Family of 10 $79,180.

WIC food prescriptions are based on the type of participant (woman, infant, or child). Nutritionists tailor the food prescription for each individual. Infants who are not breastfed receive infant formula. Infants also receive cereal and juice at the appropriate age.

Women and children get milk, cheese, eggs, cereal high in iron and low in sugar, fruit juice high in Vitamin C, and peanut butter or dried peas or beans.

Women who are breastfeeding their babies and not receiving infant formula from the WIC program also get tuna and carrots.

At the last recording period, the State of Missouri reported 134,642 participants in WIC. That is up 7.4 percent from last year. Nationwide there are nearly 8.3 million WIC participants. California has the largest total at 1.4 million followed by Texas with nearly 925,000 participants.

In Scotland County, there were 85 children between the age of 12 months to 59 months participating in WIC during the latest recording period available. There were 31 infants as well as 26 expecting mothers utilizing the program at that time.

To find out if you or your children are eligible for the WIC Program, call for an appointment at the local WIC office, the Scotland County Health Department at 660-465-7275.

At the appointment, applicants will need to provide family income information and proof of residency and identity. The review also requires answering questions about past and current health, height and weight recordings, a finger stick blood test taken (except for babies up to 9 months old), and a visit with a health professional about nutrition and health needs, before getting food checks.

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