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WIC introduces change to food packages

The Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program will undergo a major change in its food package offerings in October. This change will enable WIC households to buy fresh and canned fruits and vegetables, whole grains and soy products, including tofu and soy milk. WIC will continue to provide low fat milk, cheese, eggs, peanut butter, legumes, breakfast cereals and infant formula.

The revisions align the WIC food packages with the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition to adding healthier options, the changes will encourage more women to breastfeed their babies. WIC will continue to promote exclusive breastfeeding until 6 months of age and continued breastfeeding for a year or longer.

"Breastfeeding is the healthiest option for both babies and moms," Kitsap Community Resources WIC Manager Cyndy Ayers said. "Breast milk contains all the nutrients a baby needs and reduces the risk of allergies and asthma. Breastfeeding has also been proven to help with childhood obesity."

Suzanne Plemmons, community health director for the Kitsap County Health District, said, "These changes assist low income families in obtaining the recommended servings of fruits, vegetables and whole grains needed to be healthy."

WIC is the nutrition program for pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women and children up to age five meeting moderate income guidelines. This prevention program is designed to improve lifetime nutrition and health behaviors by helping young families and their children get a good start on healthy eating. It serves close to 50 percent of the infants born in Kitsap County.

KCR administers the WIC program in Kitsap County. More information on Washington WIC is available on the Department of Health’s Web site or by contacting KCR at (360) 478-2301.

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