The WIC program provides supplemental food packages designed to provide specific nutrients critical to growth and development. WIC food packages and nutrition education are the chief means by which WIC affects the dietary quality and habits of participants. WIC food packages were designed to supplement participants' diets with nutritionally dense foods that prevent iron-deficiency anemia; complement the eating patterns of pre-school children; and address the special nutrition requirements of pregnant and breastfeeding women.
The WIC food packages were last revised in 1980. While WIC has been successful in many areas, obesity and inappropriate dietary patterns have become significant concerns for many in WIC's target population. In this notice, the Department is soliciting public comments on redesigning the food packages offered through the WIC Program to determine if the WIC food packages should be revised to better improve the nutritional intake, health and development of participants; and, if so, what specific changes should be made to the food packages.
The Department plans to enlist independent technical experts via the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board to review available science and comments submitted in response to this Notice and to develop recommendations on revising the WIC food packages for the Department's consideration. The Department will use comments received through the Notice and the Food and Nutrition Board recommendations to develop a proposed rule.