40 years ago today, Fresno EOC WIC opened its doors and embraced the opportunity to help empower and strengthen our community by providing crucial assistance to families in need. As we open our doors decades later, we celebrate our milestones and successes by continuing to provide adequate and specialized services to low – income families in Fresno. Today presents a great opportunity to recognize all of our employees who have dedicated time and efforts to the well-being of the WIC program.
Being the first to issue WIC vouchers in the State of California, Fresno EOC WIC has shaped a legacy that has sustained to be a reliable and favorable community resource, helping mothers, infants and children since 1974. Through many years of hard work and commitment, our employees’ positive efforts have reflected a quality of service that’s improved the health and wellness of thousands of families.
Acording to USDA, significant milestones throughout the past 4 decades of WIC nationwide include:
Over the last four decades, WIC participation has contributed to lower infant mortality rates and improved pregnancy outcomes. A 2009 study concluded that WIC participation was associated with a substantial reduction in poor birth outcomes such as birth weights below 2,500 grams (about 5 pounds, 8 ounces). The study reported that these positive effects of WIC are more pronounced among more disadvantaged WIC participants and are greater if the mother begins participating in WIC early in her pregnancy.
WIC has a significant, positive impact on the overall health of children. Studies have found that infants of low-income women who did not receive WIC assistance were more likely to be underweight, and also perceived as having fair or poor health.
WIC participation is related to greater use of health care services of all types, including dental care, compared to low-income children not participating in WIC. Also, a Chicago study found that by age 25 months, children who were participating in WIC were more likely to be immunized than children in the same age group who no longer participated in WIC.
WIC is helping to address childhood obesity in America. According to the 2012 WIC Participant Characteristics report published by USDA, from 2008 to 2012, the percentage of 1-year-old WIC children considered overweight fell from 16.8 to 15.3; similarly over the same time period for two to four year old children, the rate fell from 14.7 to 14.0.
The WIC food package was recently updated to provide healthier options. In 1974, the original food package included iron-fortified formula and cereal, fruit juice, cheese, eggs, and milk. Today, the food package is more consistent with current science-based dietary guidance, offering a wider array of healthy choices, including fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and additional whole grain and fish options.
WIC has begun the transition to an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) program. To further improve program operations and integrity, and to enhance the participant experience, WIC is moving to electronic benefits transfer (EBT). Using EBT instead of paper vouchers reduces stigma and helps WIC participants more effectively redeem their benefits. WIC is working diligently to implement EBT nationwide by October 2020. To date, 13 WIC state agencies have successfully transitioned to EBT statewide.