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WIC's aims is healthy children
Health advice
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More than ever before, childcare agencies and families of children are encouraged to emphasize healthy lifestyles with particular notice being given to proper nutrition and physical fitness.
Pediatricians encourage expectant mothers to breastfeed their babies because they know this gives them the best start with the right balance of nutrients and immunity until they can develop their own with the help of timely immunizations.
Parents can see the cause and effect of this logic, as we now know the relationship risk factors (poor nutrition, lack of physical exercise, use of tobacco and drugs) play on chronic disease and other illnesses.
They are helped in these endeavors by organizations that offer activities and materials that provide the message in fun, interesting ways. One of these is the WIC program that provides activity pages online at
WIC stands for “Women Infants and Children Food/Nutrition Program” and is a  supplemental nutrition program created to improve nutritional deficiencies that can affect the growth and development in certain population groups (infants, young children, pregnant and lactating women).
Georgia’s WIC Program is the nation’s seventh largest program and provides benefits to 275,232 participants each month.
WIC participants receive food vouchers to redeem for specific foods each month.  These are foods designed to supplement their diets, foods that are high in one or more of the following nutrients; protein, calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. Data shows that these are nutrients frequently lacking in the diets of the program’s target population. Different food packages are provided for different categories of participants.
In addition to supplemental nutritious foods, eligible clients get education and counseling at WIC clinics, screening and referrals to other health, welfare and social services and breastfeeding support and counseling.  
Research has shown there is no better food than breast milk for a baby’s first year of life. Therefore, WIC has historically promoted breastfeeding to pregnant women as the optimal infant feeding choice.
WIC foods include iron-fortified infant formula (for mothers who elect not to breastfeed) and infant cereal, iron-fortified adult cereal, vitamin C-rich fruit and/or vegetable juice, eggs, milk, cheese, peanut butter, dried beans or peas, tuna fish and carrots. Special formulas and foods may be provided when prescribed.
WIC is a short-term program with participants graduating at the end of one or more certification periods. A certification period is the length of time a WIC participant is eligible for benefits. Depending on whether the individual is pregnant, postpartum, breastfeeding, an infant, or a child, an eligible individual usually receives WIC benefits from 6 months to a year, at which time she/he must reapply.
To be eligible for the WIC, applicants must meet four eligibility requirements:
• Categorical: WIC is designed to serve certain categories of women, infants, and children. Therefore, the following individuals are considered categorically eligible:
— Pregnant women (up to six weeks after birth or pregnancy ends).
— Breastfeeding women (up to infant’s first birthday)  
— Non-breastfeeding postpartum women (up to six months after the birth or after pregnancy ends).
— Infants (up to first birthday). WIC serves 45 percent of babies born in the United States.  
— Children up to their fifth birthday.
• Residential: Georgia applicants must live in this state and are required to live in a service area to apply at a WIC clinic in that area. They are not required to live in the state (or service area) for a certain time in order to meet a residency requirement.
• Income: To be eligible on the basis of income, an applicants’ gross income must fall at or below 185 percent of the U.S. poverty income guidelines.  
Some individuals are determined to be income-eligible because of other programs they are eligible for. This is known as automatic income eligibility and includes individuals eligible for food stamps, Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or in a family with certain members eligible for Medicaid or TANF; or eligible to participate in certain other state-administered programs.
• Nutrition risk: This means an individual has medical-based or dietary-based conditions. Examples of medical-based conditions include anemia, underweight or history of poor pregnancy outcome. An example of a dietary-based condition would be a poor diet. To be eligible, an applicant must have at least one of the medical or dietary conditions on the state’s list of criteria.
Applicants must be seen by a health professional who will determine whether the individual is at risk. In many cases, this is done in the WIC clinic free, but it may also be obtained from another health professional such as the applicant’s physician.
For information about WIC clinics or to get an appointment, contact your local health department. To determine initial eligibility and for each re-certification, applicants must show proof from each of the following three categories:
Identification: Confirmation of birth, drivers license, work, military or school ID, birth certificate or Social Security card.
Address: Medicaid card, water bill, cable TV bill, rent receipt with name/address, phone bill, or electric or gas bill
Family income: Current Medicaid card, food stamp distribution, pay check stub, current tax return form, letter from employer or child support        

Information for this article was obtained from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service Public Information Web site.
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