On June 11, the National WIC Association (NWA) published a report entitled, The WIC Food Package: Impacts and Recommendations to Advance Nutrition Security. The report provides the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with NWA’s recommendations for an enhanced WIC food package. USDA plans to reevaluate WIC’s food packages in the fiscal year 2022.
Highlights of NWA’s Recommendations
- Increase the Cash Value Benefit (CVB) across all child and adult food packages.
- Allow substitutions of non-dairy alternatives that meet nutrient requirements.
- Allow Substitutions for allergies, sensitivities, vegetarian and vegan diets.
Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement:
“The WIC food package is the carrot that brings moms, their babies, and young children to WIC. There, they find nutrition professionals who deliver invaluable nutrition supports and connect them to crucial health care and social services. Together, these supports save America and American taxpayers valuable healthcare dollars to the tune of $2.48 for every dollar invested in WIC. Where else can you get that kind of a return? But the carrot is no longer enough. To make the juice worth the squeeze, families need a whole basket of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, and other healthy foods. Now is the time to make meaningful investment in the best hook to get more moms and their families into WIC – doubling the value of the WIC food package.
President Biden’s fiscal year 2022 federal budget doubles down on the Administration’s ongoing commitment to building nutrition security, starting with the nutrition needs of the pregnant and postpartum women, babies, and young children served by WIC. The American Rescue Plan Act’s temporary expansion of the value of the WIC food benefit has brought historic investment in access to healthy foods for WIC families this summer, and NWA wholeheartedly supports the White House’s proposed extension of this increase through fiscal year 2022. Still, the bumped up fruit and vegetable benefit needs to continue long after the shadow of COVID-19 is gone. Enhancing WIC access and benefits are the most straightforward steps to building stronger nutrition security for millions of families. “With increased investment, NWA is confident that doubling WIC’s food benefit will bring more families closer to the nutrient recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – a critical step to further reduce rates of childhood obesity, bring down healthcare costs, and set up our children for future life success. This report and its recommendations point policymakers toward real solutions to expanding the value of the food package, ensuring that WIC families get real value for their efforts, and that America gets the full bang for investing in WIC families.”