Skip to main content

Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)

WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN PROGRAM (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutritious food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referral to health care and social services for low-income, nutritionally at risk, pregnant, and postpartum women, and for infants and children under the age of five.

WIC was funded at $4 billion for 2001, serving about 7.2 million women and young children. WIC operates nationwide through 1,800 local health departments, community health centers, hospitals, and health or social-service agencies. Some thirty inter-tribal organizations operate WIC programs, and the program also operates in Puerto Rico and in several U.S. territories. The United States Department of Agriculture operates WIC at the federal level, and state health departments administer the program in conjunction with local agencies.

WIC services include foods containing nutrients that are often lacking in the diets of low-income pregnant women and young children; nutrition assessment and nutrition education; and referral to health insurance and social programs like food stamps. WIC promotes breastfeeding through classes and individual counseling done by peer counselors and lactation consultants. In many communities, WIC operates closely with health programs for women and children including immunization programs. Public health issues such as smoking and obesity are incorporated into the WIC educational efforts of many agencies.

Numerous evaluations have found that WIC improves health status and reduces medical costs. Studies have found that women who participate in WIC have longer pregnancies leading to fewer premature births; WIC lowers the incidence of late fetal deaths by up to one-third; WIC contributes to decreases in anemia; every dollar invested in WIC for pregnant women produces $1.92 to $4.21 in Medicaid savings; and that WIC increases prenatal and well-child care use.

Stefan Harvey

(see also: Child Health Services; Maternal and Child Health; Nutrition; Poverty; Women's Health )

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)." Encyclopedia of Public Health. . Encyclopedia.com. 15 Dec. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)." Encyclopedia of Public Health. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 15, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/women-infants-and-children-program-wic

"Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)." Encyclopedia of Public Health. . Retrieved December 15, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/women-infants-and-children-program-wic

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.