March was National Nutrition Month, but the month passing by doesn’t mean the spotlight can’t continue to shine. The month of education helps to ensure that children in need of access to proper nutrition are taken care of.
The Ingham County Health Department (ICHD) spent the month of March reminding families to “Stick with WIC”, reassuring the community that income-eligible children can participate in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program until their fifth birthday.
More families are eligible than they might realize. Income requirements for WIC are higher than many other assistance programs. The Ingham County Health Department states that a family of four making $45,510 or less would indeed be eligible for the WIC program.
Each child over age one who participates in the WIC program receives around $45 worth of healthy food each month. The child’s parent or guardian would shop for them at a local grocery store, with the WIC package including options like cereal, milk, juice, cheese, fruits and vegetables, yogurt, pasta, eggs and more. A free consultation with a dietician is also available for eligible participants – a visit valued at $150 per consult.
“Too many children are leaving the program after age one,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “There is a perception that the program is for babies, but participation is highly beneficial for toddlers and preschoolers too.”
The ICHD reminds us that the first five years of life are critical to child development and the establishment of lifelong healthy eating habits. Studies have also shown that the children who participate in WIC during early childhood are less likely to have developmental delays. They also have better outcomes compared to children in similar circumstances who did not participate.
For more information about the WIC Program, call (517) 887-4326.