The state is making some changes the program that provides food for low income mothers and children. Jill Lange, a nutrition consultant for the Women Infants and Children, or WIC program, says a study prompted the changes. Lange says the Institute of Medicine was asked in 2003 to do a review of the foods in the program and that review found the program was not meeting the nutritional needs of the participants.
She says they were missing out on things like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and watching the intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. Lange says the food guidelines are now more in line with the dietary guidelines for Americans. She says the new guidelines for the program reflect the results of the study.
She says they will now provide participants with more whole grains, so they can buy whole wheat bread, brown rice or corn tortillas. They will also get a voucher to spend a certain dollar amount for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Lange says they also had to adjust for changes in the costs of the different foods.
Lange says they decrease the amount of some foods given, such as milk and juice, to try and keep the amount of food available stable. The eligibility and amount of benefit given in WIC is determined by income. Lange says they serve approximately 77-thousand Iowans and the demand has grown.
Lange says they’ve been setting new records each month in the last year for the number of participants as the economy has been driving the number of participants in the program. The changes will take place beginning in October. You can find out more about the WIC program here.