Archive for the ‘WIC’ category

Martin County WIC now using EBT cards

April 27th, 2011


April 27, 2011, Martin County, KY – The Martin County Health Department will begin using a new upgraded web-based system to issue benefits for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program beginning on April 27, 2011. The web-based system uses information gathered at WIC participant visits to issue Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to be used for WIC purchases. Offering the “eWIC” cards gives families the needed access to benefits without the delay and stigma of paper food instruments (checks) which most counties in Kentucky still use.

Under the current system, WIC participants are issued multiple paper food instruments to purchase WIC approved items in authorized stores. All items listed on a food instrument must be purchased at one time or the benefits are lost. With the EBT card a WIC participant has the flexibility of purchasing WIC approved items at any time during the valid period of their benefits. This enhances the shopping experience of all WIC customers by ensuring confidentiality during transactions, allowing the participant to shop for a gallon of milk or loaf of bread without having to make other purchases, and results in a faster and smoother checkout at the retailer.

Many of the retailer’s systems will be integrated, meaning participants can swipe their eWIC cards through the same device that accepts credit and debit cards. The retailers will no longer have to manually complete paper food instruments. At checkout the eWIC card will ensure the participant purchases only WIC authorized foods in correct quantities, and removes the margin of cashier error during WIC transactions. There are a few retailers in the area who will accept the new eWIC cards using a separate device at checkout.

WIC is a short-term intervention program designed to influence lifetime nutrition and health behavior in low income women who are pregnant or gave birth and children 5 years old and younger who need nutritional help. Funded by the USDA, WIC offers nutrition education and services; breastfeeding promotion and education; monthly food prescription of nutritious foods; and access to other maternal, prenatal and pediatric health-care services.

Why WIC is important!

March 18th, 2011

WIC saves lives and improves the health of nutritionally at-risk women, infants and children. The results of studies conducted by FNS and other nongovernment entities prove that WIC is one of the nation’s most successful and cost-effective nutrition intervention programs.

Since its beginning in 1974, the WIC Program has earned the reputation of being one of the most successful Federally-funded nutrition programs in the United States. Collective findings of studies, reviews and reports demonstrate that the WIC Program is cost effective in protecting or improving the health/nutritional status of low-income women, infants and children.

The following highlights some of the findings (pertinent references are provided).

Improved Birth Outcomes and Savings in Health Care Costs

  • longer pregnancies;
  • fewer premature births;
  • lower incidence of moderately low and very low birth weight infants;
  • fewer infant deaths;
  • a greater likelihood of receiving prenatal care; and
  • savings in health care costs from $1.77 to $3.13 within the first 60 days after birth.

Improved Diet and Diet-Related Outcomes

  • higher mean intakes of iron, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6, without an increase in food energy intake, indicating an increase in the nutrient density of the diet;
  • positive effects on the intakes of ten nutrients without an adverse effect on fat or cholesterol;
  • more effective than other cash income or food stamps at improving preschoolers’ intake of key nutrients; and
  • decline in the rate of iron deficiency anemia from 7.8 percent in 1975 to 2.9 percent in 1985 which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributed to both a general improvement in iron nutrition and participation in WIC and other public nutrition programs.

Improved Infant Feeding Practices

  • WIC breastfeeding policy and program activites were strengthened in the early 1990′s;
  • Between 1996 and 2001, the percentage of WIC mothers breastfeeding in the hospital increased by almost 25 percent, from 46.6 to 58.2 percent;
  • The percentage of WIC infants breastfeeding at six months of age increased by 61.2 percent, from 12.9 to 20.8 percent; and,
  • For those infants who are fed infant formula, 90 percent received iron-fortified formula, which is recommended for nearly all nonbreastfed infants for the first year of life.

Immunization Rates and RegularImproved Cognitive Development

  • improve vocabulary scores for children of mothers who participated in WIC during pregnancy; and
  • significantly improve memory for numbers for children enrolled in WIC after the first year of life.

Improved Preconception Nutritional Status

  • women enrolled in WIC both during pregnancy and postpartum periods delivered infants with higher mean birth weights in a subsequent pregnancy than women who received WIC prenatally only; and,
  • the women who received postpartum benefits had higher hemoglobin levels and lower risk of maternal obesity at the onset of the subsequent pregnancy.

Other Improved Outcomes

  • increase the likelihood of children having a regular provider of medical care; and,
  • improve growth rates.


  • WIC reduces fetal deaths and infant mortality.
  • WIC reduces low birth weight rates and increases the duration of pregnancy.
  • WIC improves the growth of nutritionally at-risk infants and children.
  • WIC decreases the incidence of iron deficiency anemia in children.
  • WIC improves the dietary intake of pregnant and postpartum women and improves weight gain in pregnant women.
  • Pregnant women participating in WIC receive prenatal care earlier.
  • Children enrolled in WIC are more likely to have a regular source of medical care and have more up to date immunizations.
  • WIC helps get children ready to start school: children who receive WIC benefits demonstrate improved intellectual development.
  • WIC significantly improves children’s diets.

WIC participation has also been shown to:
Preconception nutritional status is an important determinant of birth outcome. A previous pregnancy can cause nutritional depletion of the postpartum woman, particularly those with high parity and short interpregnancy intervals. One study found:
Cognitive development influences school achievement and behavior. Participation in the WIC Program has been shown to: Source of Medical Care
A regular schedule of immunizations is recommended for children from birth to 2 years of age, which coincides with the period in which many low-income children participate in WIC. Studies have found significantly improved rates of childhood immunization and of having a regular source of medical care associated with WIC participation.
WIC promotes breastfeeding as the optimal method of infant feeding. Studies show:
Studies have found WIC to have a positive effect on children’s diet and diet-related outcomes such as:
Research has shown that the WIC Program has been playing an important role in improving birth outcomes and containing health care costs. A series of reports published by USDA based on linked 1988 WIC and Medicaid data on over 100,000 births found that every dollar spent on prenatal WIC participation for low-income Medicaid women in five states resulted in: 

What Is the Kentucky WIC Program?

March 11th, 2011

If you are pregnant, recently had a baby, are breastfeeding or have a child younger than 5 years of age, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) could help you.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a short-term intervention program designed to influence lifetime nutrition and health behavior in high-risk populations. WIC is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture.

WIC provides:

  • Nutrition education and services;
  • Breastfeeding promotion and education;
  • A monthly food prescription of nutritious foods; and
  • Access to maternal, prenatal and pediatric health-care services.

May 25 – Luncheon for Expectant Moms

April 15th, 2010

Let’s Celebrate!!!!!

Luncheon for Expectant Moms

May 25 at 12:00 pm

(RSVP encouraged)


A light lunch with refreshments will be served.  Topics for discussion will include:  Nutrition during 1st, 2nd and 3rd Trimesters, Nutrition for Baby: Breastfeeding vs Formula and Art of Skin.

Contact C’onia Fitch, Martin County Health Department’s Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, at