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Statement of Support for Full Funding of the WIC Program
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides nutrition and breastfeeding education, nutritious foods, and critical health and social service referrals for low and moderate-income women and children during a critical life stage. WIC serves about 1.5 million Californians, including 62% of all infants born in California. Only pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women, infants and children up to age five are eligible for the Program, which limits the duration of participation to a period when nutrition support is crucial.
By significantly improving nutrition and educating participants for a lifetime of healthy eating, participation in WIC results in healthier pregnancies and birth outcomes, and better growth and development of young children. WIC has been proven to improve cognitive development, access to regular health care/social services, diets and health behaviors. WIC prevents iron deficiency anemia and helps increase breastfeeding rates of WIC mothers through support and counseling. WIC children begin school with a healthy foundation, ready to learn.
For every dollar spent on a pregnant woman in WIC, up to $4.21 is saved in Medicaid for her and her newborn baby because WIC reduces the risk for preterm birth and low birth-weight babies by 25% and 44% respectively. WIC, which is not an entitlement program, infuses approximately $90 million in funds into the California retail food economy each month. Program management costs average 9% nationally.
Healthy WIC food prescriptions and education about how to eat a well-balanced diet increase the demand for healthy food items in local grocery stores, and also increase overall access to healthy foods in the community.
We the undersigned see firsthand the benefits of the WIC program in our community every day. We support full funding for the WIC program to ensure that every low-income woman who meets current eligibility requirements can be served. Cutting WIC funding would mean depriving young children the opportunity of a healthy start in life, taking away purchasing power in local economies, and increasing long-term healthcare costs. The WIC program should be held harmless as budget-cutting decisions are being made.
California WIC Association
California Grocers Association
The American Academy of Pediatrics – California District 9