The WIC Program is a Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children which provides nutritious food to supplement the regular diet of pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children under age five who meet state income standards and who qualify as “nutritionally at risk” based on medical assessment. Participants also receive nutrition education and referrals to other community services.
What is meant by “nutritionally at risk?”
Examples of nutritional risk factors for women are obesity, poor weight gain during pregnancy, anemia, a history of premature birth, low birth weight, and poor dietary patterns. Examples of nutritional risk factors for children and infants are underweight, obesity, stunted growth, anemia, and poor dietary patterns.
What are the income standards used to determine eligibility?
A woman or child will qualify financially if their combined family income is at or below 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. Many working families do qualify for WIC benefits.
What type of foods are WIC participants provided?
Foods provided through the WIC program include milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, cereal, breads, tortillas, pasta, juice, dried and canned beans, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, infant formulas, baby meats, fruits, vegetables, and infant cereal. (Exclusively breastfeeding women may also receive tuna and carrots.) These particular foods were chosen because they are rich in protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C--nutrients especially important for proper growth and development. Participants “purchase” these foods at local grocery stores with an E-WIC card assigned to them by WIC staff.
How can a mother in Colorado apply for the WIC Program?
By contacting the local Health Department or Public Health Nurse. Anyone calling the “Family Health line” hotline will be given the phone number of their local WIC Program. The hotline phone number is 1-800-688-7777.
Who staffs local WIC Programs?
Local WIC Programs in counties throughout Colorado are staffed by Registered Dietitians (RD), Registered nurses (RN), and paraprofessionals referred to as WIC Educators. WIC Educators determine eligibility of WIC clients, assign E-WIC cards, maintain client and Program records, interview clients, and counsel on appropriate diet, provide individualized nutrition information, and refer high-risk clients to the RD and/or the Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC).