New WIC Food Packages to Benefit Half of All Children Born in Vermont

Kickoff event to be held on Thursday Oct. 1
at RJ’s Friendly Market (80 South Main Street) in Waterbury at 10 a.m.

For Immediate Release: Sept. 30, 2009
Media Contact: Communication Office
Vermont Department of Health
802-863-7281

BURLINGTON – Starting Oct. 1, more than half of all infants born in Vermont and their families will benefit from changes to foods provided through the Vermont Department of Health’s WIC program.

WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. WIC has helped Vermont families thrive for the past 35 years.

New food offerings for WIC families will include whole grain bread and cereals, low fat milk and cheese, soy beverage and tofu options – healthy choices that can decrease the risk and onset of childhood and adult chronic diseases.

Families will also be able to use a debit-like card at authorized grocery stores to buy a wide variety of fruit and vegetables thanks to a partnership with 3SquaresVT.

A Vermont family will demonstrate how the WIC Fruit & Veggie card works on Oct. 1, 2009 at a kickoff event, 10 a.m. at RJ’s Friendly Market (80 South Main Street) in Waterbury.

“The health benefits of these changes will be seen for decades to come,” said Health Commissioner Wendy Davis, MD. “Improved nutrition can help prevent conditions such as diabetes and childhood obesity, which is a primary goal of the Vermont Blueprint for Health.”

WIC offers incentives to women who breastfeed rather than use formula, providing them with more food and special support and nutrition services. Breastfeeding for a full 12 months and beyond is recommended by the Vermont Department of Health as the best nutrition for infants.

WIC is also a gateway to services for families such as health insurance, immunizations, breastfeeding support, and other health and nutrition programs.

"My family has benefited from the WIC program for 20 years in numerous ways,” said Vicki Langevin, of Barre, Vt. Langevin is a mother of six children, including a 1-year-old. “In our food packages we have received everything from formula and whole milk back in early 90's to carrots, tuna and beans when I decided to breastfeed my fourth child in the late 90's. This change will truly be a great one for many Vermont families. It gives us options we know are healthier, especially the ability to access fruits and veggies using the debit card."

WIC was established by the Health Department in Vermont in 1974. The program provides foods to help meet nutritional needs of pregnant women, new mothers and children through age 5. The program serves 17,500 people a month in Vermont, including 3,000 people each month in Chittenden County. The Health Department also conducts clinics in more than 50 locations statewide.

3SquaresVT is a Vermont Department for Children and Families program that helps Vermonters stretch their food budget.

For more information on the WIC changes, please visit http://www.healthvermont.gov/wic

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