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WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change
Juice—omitted to help make possible the addition of baby food fruits and vegetables.
The amount of infant cereal in the package is unchanged. The decrease in the maximum allowance of formula for fully formula-fed infants is consistent with meeting nutritional requirements. The decrease for partially breast-fed infants is to encourage a greater contribution of breast milk to the infant’s diet. Decreasing the maximum amount of formula and omitting juice make possible other enhancements. For example, the addition of baby food fruits and vegetables in the second 6 months of infancy introduces infants to a variety of nutritious foods at an age when almost all infants are developmentally ready for semisolid foods. The baby food meat for breastfed infants provides needed iron and zinc in forms with high bioavailability, and the larger quantities of baby food for fully breast-fed infants may encourage some mothers to continue full breastfeeding.
Food Package III for Those with Special Dietary Needs
Currently, Food Package III provides only special formulas, juice, and cereal. The committee recommends the following:
Continue to provide participants with the special formulas that are prescribed because of specific medical or developmental conditions;
In addition, provide the foods that they would receive from the package to which they would be assigned if they did not have special dietary needs, to the extent that is appropriate (for example, foods from Food Package IV for children ages 1 year through 4 years); and
Include infants with special dietary needs among the populations served by this package.
The committee supports the least restriction of WIC foods consistent with the participant’s special health needs. The addition of infants with special dietary needs is recommended to increase efficiency in keeping track of foods and food costs for all individuals with special dietary needs.
Food Package IV for Children
A side-by-side comparison of the current and revised food packages for children appears in Table ES-2. Food Package IV serves more than 50 percent of all WIC participants. The proposed food package introduces the following changes:
Juice—limited to an amount that is consistent with the recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics;