A number of studies covering the effects of poor nutrition proof the existence of ills to children exposed to poor nutrition particularly from birth to 2 years of age. Research by doctors have linked low birth weight, restricted intellectual development, emotional and behavioral development issues with nutritional deficiency. The women infants and children (Fulton New York WIC) federal assistance program is a key lifeline for women and children facing the risk of development deficiencies due to nutritional poverty caused by socio economic circumstances.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed WIC as an intervention program to assist women and children at risk due to poor nutrition. The supervising body for this program is the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The intervention target group includes pregnant and breast feeding women and children below the age of 5 and encompasses the granting of the electronic benefit transfer card (EBT) or in some states voucher or checks for nutritious foods and baby foods, breast feeding importance and techniques, nutrition education and immunization referrals.
Families that qualify for the Auburn New York WIC program receive foods that meet the balance diet nutritional guidelines. These families receive EBT cards or vouchers that enables them to purchase foods that supplement their diet with key nutrients. The food groups fall under: eggs, peanut butter, vegetables, fruits, cheese, milk, fortified cereal, infant food, canned fish, canned beans or peas, tofu and whole wheat bread.
Moreover, pregnant or breast feeding mothers receive nutritional counselling from registered dieticians. Under a typical session, a mother is free to ask questions related to proper nutrition and children or pre-natal health care at no cost from a professional. Additionally, counselling is given on the benefits of breast feeding and proper breast feeding techniques during this sessions. Furthermore, counselors give women tips on how to store breast milk, in some cases, mothers are given breast pumps as support during breast feeding.
Children benefits from WIC by receiving baby cereals and baby fortified formula. However, counselors focus on giving advice and encouragement for the mother to breast feed. The mother’s milk is well is celebrated to possess a complete balance of nutrients and vitamins the baby will need for the first 12 months of their life and is packed with disease fighting substances. The paradigm shift in formula focus to breast milk provided by WIC benefits children.
Furthermore, families receive health care benefits, under WIC women and children are referred to other medical practitioners and programs at no cost. Referrals include dentists, doctors, Medicaid and head start. This health and social services professionals provide a holistic development intervention for low income families at a critical phase of development, especially for children. Moreover, families receive free immunization screening and assessment at no cost.
If you are pregnant or have already given birth and have children under 5 years, then you stand a good chance of qualifying for WIC provided you meet the profile of being at ‘risk’. Your low income status will be assessed and you will need to contact your local supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) to apply.
There are many benefits to participating in WIC, a rough experience in life does not have to end in years of poor development issues due to a foundation of nutritional and healthy living deficiencies for your family.