SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the nation’s public health nutrition program. WIC provides families with the knowledge and skills necessary to make healthful choices, which they can carry with them for a lifetime.
“I applaud the WIC program in their efforts to promote healthy lifestyles and for making a true difference every day in the lives of women, infants and children in Illinois,” said IDHS Secretary Michelle R.B. Saddler.
WIC aims to improve the health of low-income women, infants and children by providing supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding promotion and support, health screenings and referrals to eligible families.
Nearly 40 percent of all babies born in Illinois are WIC participants and research shows that WIC has been successful in the reduction of fetal deaths, infant mortality, low birth weight rates, iron deficiency anemia in children and increased immunization rates.
In addition, in Illinois, women who participate in the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor program offered by WIC tend to have higher rates of breastfeeding initiation (81.2%) and one month duration rates (73%) than those who do not participate in the program (61.4% and 61.3%, respectively). Women who participate in WIC while pregnant also have lower Medicaid costs than those who do not participate.
As a result of these outcomes, the health of women, infants and children has been improved, infant mortality has decreased and Medicaid expenditures have been reduced. Since its beginnings, the WIC program has strived to meet the needs of its participants and has served as a long-standing and important community nutrition program which will continue to serve the needs of its population for years to come.
To learn more about the WIC program or to see if you may qualify, please visit www.fns.usda.gov/wic or at your local WIC office.