image001The U. S. Department of Agriculture finalized changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to further improve the nutrition and health of the nation’s low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children. The changes – which increase access to fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy – are based on the latest nutrition science.

DC WIC implemented the first change of the Final Rule: Revisions in the WIC Food Packages in April, 2014, increasing the cash value voucher for fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables from $6.00 to $8.00 for children. This increase is a great incentive for our participants to include more fruits and vegetables in their daily diets.

Effective October 1, 2014, the District of Columbia WIC program will implement the final food rule changes for milk/dairy options. These include the following:

For Women and Children >=24 months of age:

  • Low fat (1%) and Fat Free milk will be the standard milk options.
  • Reduced fat milk (2%) will only be authorized by the WIC nutritionist for participants with certain conditions, including but not limited to, underweight and maternal weight loss during pregnancy. The need for reduced fat (2%) milk for children >=24 months of age and women will be determined as part of the comprehensive nutrition assessment completed by the nutritionist.
  • Whole milk can only be authorized to women and children over >=24 months with a medical need requiring the use of a special formula/medical food when documented by a prescriptive authority, including a physician, physician assistant, certified nurse practitioner, or certified nurse midwife.
  • Substitution of cheese for milk in the food package will be limited to one pound of cheese for 3 quarts of milk.

These changes are in alignment with recommendations in the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010” to consume low fat and fat free dairy products as a way to reduce saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet.

For Children 1-2 years old

  • Whole milk will remain as the standard milk option.

New to the program will be the allowance of fat-reduced milk options for one year olds at risk of overweight or obesity. In accordance with AAP policy, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service will allow the WIC nutritionist to make a determination for the need for fat-reduced milks for one-year olds based on an individual assessment and consultation with the health care provider if necessary.

A revised Medical Referral Form reflecting these changes will be available on the Department of Health website on October 1, 2014.

DC WIC will be making additional changes, including an update to the Authorized Food List, in 2015.

Further information about the Final Food Rule changes can be found at:

http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/final-rule-revisions-wic-food-packages

http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/03-04-14_WIC-Food-Packages-Final-Rule.pdf