News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
CONTACT: Mary Charles, city communications officer, (816) 513-1356
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 29, 2009
Food options added to Women, Infants and Children program
New guidelines promote breastfeeding and offer more diverse choices
The City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, announces the most comprehensive change to the Missouri Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC, food choice guidelines in more than 30 years. The program is changing to encourage more women to breastfeed their babies and help fight obesity – one of the nation’s fastest growing health concerns.
Starting Oct. 1, the revised guidelines add new food categories and offer optional substitutions for some of the current food categories. The changes are intended to better meet the needs of the wide range of WIC participants. Under the new rules:
•WIC clients can purchase whole grains and fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables
•Beginning at 6 months, all infants receive infant fruits and vegetables, while fully breastfed infants also receive infant meats
•Soy milk and tofu may be given as an alternative to milk, with medical documentation
•Canned beans are offered as an alternative to dry beans
•The amount of milk, eggs, juice and cheese is reduced for women and children
•Juice is eliminated for infants
•The amount of infant formula is reduced for partially breastfed and older infants
The WIC program will increase the amount of food provided to mothers who breastfeed their babies full time to better promote and support the establishment of successful long-term breastfeeding.
Health officials say the new food choices and the focus on breastfeeding will help improve the health of many Missourians.
“Breastfeeding is the healthiest option for both babies and moms,” said Lyn Konstant, Missouri WIC director. “Breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs for the first six months and reduces the risk of allergies, asthma, diabetes and certain childhood cancers.”
Breastfeeding also helps a new mother lose the weight she gained during pregnancy and helps her uterus return to normal size, Konstant said. Babies who are breastfed have lower rates of obesity as they grow older.
“This new focus is coming at a time when childhood obesity is one of our greatest public health challenges,” said Cynthia Eldridge-Davis, program manager for WIC at the Health Department. “These changes will support healthy lifestyles beginning in pregnancy and early childhood when lifelong health habits are being formed.”
For more information on WIC clinic hours or how to qualify, call (816) 513-6360, or visit the Health Department Web site at http:/www.kcmo.org/health or Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ WIC web site at http://www.dhss.mo.gov/wic.
WIC is an equal opportunity program and services are provided on a nondiscriminatory basis.
Media inquiries about this topic should be directed to Jeff Hershberger, public information officer for the Health Department, (816) 840-2548 (pager).