The following statement was released today by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the National WIC Association, Center for Science in the Public Interest, First Focus and March of Dimes in response to the release of the Institute of Medicine’s report, Review of WIC Food Packages: An Evaluation of White Potatoes in the Cash Value Voucher:
"The findings released today by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) confirm what health and nutrition experts have consistently urged: that science, not politics, should drive the decisions concerning foods in the WIC food package for nutritionally vulnerable women and children participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program.
"WIC is an instrumental, effective program that improves birth outcomes, provides nutritional support to vulnerable women, infants and children, and saves costs. WIC’s four decades of success are anchored by recommendations from nutrition science experts who understand the unique dietary needs of mothers, infants and children.
"Today’s report by the IOM provides critical analysis and recommendations with respect to the WIC food packages. We urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Congress to heed the IOM’s conclusions, particularly to re-evaluate their findings if the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) for consumption of starchy vegetables differs significantly from that of the 2010 DGA. The last food package recommendations were based on the 2005 DGA.
"Congressional action to thwart the IOM science-based process that USDA has come to rely on when making WIC food package decisions jeopardizes the program’s ability to address dietary deficits in women and children by opening the door for other special interest groups to determine which foods they should and should not access.
"As leading health and medical organizations, the American Academy of Pediatrics, National WIC Association, Center for Science in the Public Interest, First Focus and March of Dimes urge Congress to protect WIC by rejecting any efforts to undermine its scientific integrity. The health and well-being of millions of women, infants, and children who rely on WIC should come first, and keeping the program backed by science is key to doing just that."