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Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report (2016)

Chapter: Appendix N: Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix N: Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21832.
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Appendix N

Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience

As noted in Chapter 3, committee members were required to visit one or more Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) sites. The plan was designed to ensure national coverage both geographically and with respect to racial and ethnic diversity. Committee members prepared and shared reports in a closed session.1 The most outstanding comment from committee members was the variability across WIC sites in several programmatic aspects, as summarized in Box N-1. Previously in this report, the difficulties finding a 1-pound loaf of whole wheat bread were described. Similarly, in states where whole wheat pasta is permitted for purchase, finding a product meeting the 1-pound specification was difficult. Other whole grain products in a 1-pound size but not currently permitted for purchase included whole grain corn pasta and whole grain brown rice pasta. These two versions may also be suitable for gluten-free diets, although the cost is significantly greater. Checkout efficiency although not quantifiable appeared to be qualitatively improved with the electronic benefit transfer instrument.

Similarly, some WIC personnel with whom the committee met on site visits expressed concern about the 18-ounce container of peanut butter, because not all peanut butter vendors offer this size. They and also public commenters expressed concern that manufacturers frequently change package sizes. These changes can affect availability to participants when WIC state agencies define the allowable package sizes to contain costs, which

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1 A summary of the committee reports is accessible through the National Academies Public Access File. Email: paro@nas.edu.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix N: Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21832.
×

may not align with package size revisions. WIC participants are an important customer base, and it benefits manufacturers to be cognizant of WIC rules, particularly considering potential variation across states.

Suggested Citation:"Appendix N: Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21832.
×
Suggested Citation:"Appendix N: Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21832.
×

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Suggested Citation:"Appendix N: Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21832.
×
Page 443
Suggested Citation:"Appendix N: Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21832.
×
Page 444
Suggested Citation:"Appendix N: Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21832.
×
Page 445
Suggested Citation:"Appendix N: Committee Perceptions of the WIC Experience." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2016. Review of WIC Food Packages: Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/21832.
×
Page 446
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The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) began 40 years ago as a pilot program and has since grown to serve over 8 million pregnant women, and mothers of and their infants and young children. Today the program serves more than a quarter of the pregnant women and half of the infants in the United States, at an annual cost of about $6.2 billion. Through its contribution to the nutritional needs of pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women; infants; and children under 5 years of age; this federally supported nutrition assistance program is integral to meeting national nutrition policy goals for a significant portion of the U.S. population.

To assure the continued success of the WIC, Congress mandated that the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reevaluate the program's food packages every 10 years. In 2014, the USDA asked the Institute of Medicine to undertake this reevaluation to ensure continued alignment with the goals of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This, the second report of this series, provides a summary of the work of phase I of the study, and serves as the analytical underpinning for phase II in which the committee will report its final conclusions and recommendations.

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