September 28, 2009
Texas will begin offering new, healthier food choices to WIC participants starting Oct. 1.
Changes are being made nationally to the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) to give participants healthier options, reduce obesity and encourage breastfeeding.
For the first time, participants will be able to receive a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and baby foods.
The purpose is to provide healthier, more diverse food choices, said Dr. David Lakey, Texas Department of State Health Services commissioner. The new foods give participants more nutritional variety and value, less fat and more fiber.
Other changes include an emphasis on lower fat milk rather than whole milk for children 2 and older and decreased amounts of juice, cheese and eggs for women and children. There will be increased food benefits for breastfeeding women. Soy milk and tofu will be available for those who have a diagnosed allergy or intolerance to cows milk or a dietary preference for soy products.
Since April, Texas has been working to inform participants about the upcoming changes through classes, shopping guides and in-store signs. The changes will be implemented gradually throughout the state. All Texas participants will be transitioned to the new food choices by January 2010.
The WIC Program provides food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referrals for other services to low- to moderate-income women, and children up to the age of 5. WIC benefits in Texas are administered by DSHS. Some 1 million women, infants and young children participate in the program statewide.
WIC participants can get more information about the changes by calling (800) 942-3678 or visiting www.texaswic.org.
(News Media Contact: Carrie Williams, DSHS Assistant Press Officer, 512-458-7400.)
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