Concord, NH – After more than 25 years, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) made significant changes to the WIC food package based on guidance from the Institute of Medicine. A recent survey shows that as a result, New Hampshire women and children on the WIC program are eating healthier.
To measure impact, the National Food and Nutrition Survey (NATFAN) was administered to WIC participants in New Hampshire before and after the rollout of the new food package (fall 2009 and spring 2011). Pre- and post-survey results were compared to determine changes in consumption patterns and attitudes among WIC participants.
"Given that over one-third of low-income children two to five years of age are overweight or obese, this is a positive step in the right direction,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), which administers the Program in the State. “WIC families are pleased with the addition of new foods to WIC, such as whole grain bread, fruits, and vegetables.”
Among women, there was a 74% increase in fruit consumption three or more times per day. The same percentage increase was observed for vegetable consumption three or more times per day. The post-survey showed that more women are now consuming low-fat milk as well. Consumption of whole grains increased among women, while consumption of refined grains such as white bread and white rice decreased.
Among children, there was a 73% increase in consumption of vegetables three or more times per day. Fruit consumption three or more times per day increased by 38%. The post-survey showed increased consumption of whole grains including brown rice, whole wheat bread, and whole wheat tortillas. Additionally, the post-survey showed that more parents were willing to offer fat-free milk to their children over two years of age.
For more information on the new WIC food package and the survey results, visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/wic/documents/natfan11rpt.pdf or the National WIC Association website at www.nwica.org/?q=aboutwic/NATFAN.