WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change


Report at a Glance

  • Report Brief (PDF)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has promoted the health of low-income families for over 30 years by providing nutrition education, supplemental food, and other valuable services. The program reaches millions of families every year, is one of the largest nutrition programs in the United States, and is an important investment in the nation's health.

Due to changes in scientific knowledge about nutrition, demographic changes in the population served by WIC, and new challenges in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including increasingly sedentary lifestyles, increased prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases, and new dietary patterns, the US Department of Agriculture charged the IOM with creating a committee to evaluate the WIC food packages (the list of specific foods participants obtain each month through the WIC program).

The goal of the study was to improve the quality of the diet of WIC participants while also promoting a healthy body weight that will reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The committee concluded that it was time for a change in the WIC food packages and the report provides details on the proposed new food packages, summarizes how the proposed packages differ from current packages, and discusses the rationale for the proposed packages.

Actions Taken as a Result of this Report