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WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change
equacy of the diets of WIC subgroups—WIC infants under 1 year of age, WIC children 1 through 4 years of age, and pregnant, lactating, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women.1 To guide the committee in recommending specific changes in the food packages, the committee conducted analyses to determine nutrients of concern: (1) nutrients of concern regarding inadequate intakes as defined by intakes below the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR); and (2) nutrients of concern regarding excessive intakes as defined by intakes above the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). This chapter summarizes the analysis results. Details on the methods and results of the analysis of nutrient adequacy are provided in Appendix C—Nutrient Intake of WIC Subgroups.
Estimated Adequacy of Micronutrient Usual Intakes
Overall, fully formula-fed WIC infants had adequate intakes of micronutrients and macronutrients. For three nutrients—iron, zinc, and protein—precise estimates of inadequacy can be calculated. These results show a low prevalence of inadequacy for formula-fed WIC infants 6 through 11 months but a higher prevalence of inadequacy for iron and zinc for breast-fed infants (Table 2-1). The results for breast-fed infants (WIC and non-WIC breast-fed infants combined because of small sample sizes) indicate 40 percent of breast-fed infants 6 through 11 months had inadequate iron intakes and 60 percent had inadequate zinc intakes (Table 2-1).
WIC children have adequate intakes of all micronutrients except vitamin E, while the diets of pregnant, lactating, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women have high levels of inadequacy for a number of nutrients (Table 2-2). The micronutrients with the highest prevalence of inadequacy were magnesium and vitamin E. For vitamin E, the estimated prevalence of inadequacy exceeded 90 percent for pregnant and lactating women and was almost 100 percent for non-breastfeeding postpartum women. More than 40 percent of pregnant and lactating women had inadequate folate intakes. About one-third of pregnant and lactating women had inadequate intakes of vitamins A, C, and B6. An even higher percentage of non-breastfeeding postpartum women had inadequate intakes of vitamins A and C (more than 40 percent). The prevalence of inadequate intake of vitamin B6 was twice as high for pregnant and lactating women as for non-breastfeeding postpartum women.
Due to sample size limitations in the data set from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII), the analyses of nutrient adequacy used all pregnant and lactating women (14 through 44 years of age) and all non-breastfeeding women (14 through 44 years of age) up to one year postpartum. In contrast, the analyses for infants and children used only infants and children receiving WIC benefits. For details on sample size, see Appendix C—Nutrient Intake of WIC Subgroups.