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WIC provides more than baby formula
Written by Submitted   
Monday, November 19, 2012 9:07 PM

The Indiana Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program is well known as a resource to provide infants with formula at no cost, but health officials want Hoosiers to know that many more benefits, like breastfeeding education and support and improved access to fruits and vegetables, are available to them through WIC.

 “Indiana WIC is a great program for Hoosier moms and we would like to see more people take advantage of the free resources we can provide,” said Eldon Whetstone, Deputy Director of the WIC program at the Indiana State Department of Health. “Many WIC recipients stop requesting benefits once their child is no longer eligible for formula, but kids are eligible to receive benefits up to the age of five, helping to support a healthy start during those critical early years of development.”

The Indiana WIC program provides vouchers for supplemental foods to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. Indiana WIC also provides health care referrals, nutrition counseling, and health screenings and assessments.

 In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced a new food package for WIC participants that emphasized the importance of fruits and vegetables. To help further demonstrate nutrition as an Indiana WIC priority, the Indiana State Department of Health has unveiled a new WIC logo. The new logo features an apple and is brightly colored to represent the wide range of colors found in fruits and vegetables.

 “Nutrition is a top priority for the health of new moms and children and our hope is that the new logo will remind WIC recipients that support is available,” said Whetstone.

The Indiana WIC Program currently serves an average of 167,877 women, infants, and children each month through a statewide network of 145 WIC clinics. Indiana WIC supports $105 million in food sales at more than 780 Indiana WIC-authorized grocery stores and pharmacies. These retail locations can be easily identified by a WIC logo displayed on the storefront.

 Whetstone encourages pregnant women and guardians of young children—mothers, fathers, grandparents, foster parents—to contact their local WIC clinic to determine if they are eligible for benefits.

 “Our partners at local WIC clinics are a tremendous resource for our participants and have a great amount of knowledge to support the communities they are a part of,” said Whetstone.

 To find a local WIC clinic or learn more about WIC eligibility requirements, visit www.WIC.isdh.in.gov or call 1-800-522-0874.