National WIC Association

The WIC Act: A Wise Investment

March 18, 2021

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a proven, targeted program that delivers nutrition support and increases access to healthy foods during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood. Despite a well-documented record of improving health outcomes, structural barriers have contributed to a decline in participation – with only 51% of eligible individuals certified to receive WIC services in 2017. WIC participation has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but building a better nutrition safety net for families requires a hard look at the gaps in access to WIC's nutrition services.


The Wise Investment in our Children Act (WIC Act) is an essential step in closing nutrition gaps and enhancing WIC support access. This bipartisan legislation identifies three common-sense steps to ensure more nutritionally at-risk, low-income individuals can be connected with WIC services by leveraging WIC to ensure greater access to healthy foods, improve breastfeeding rates, and reducing the prevalence of childhood obesity. Improved health outcomes obtained through higher WIC participation will reduce overall healthcare costs, as WIC support contributes to healthier pregnancies, births, and childhoods.


The WIC Act includes three provisions that will strengthen access to the program:

  1. The WIC Act would extend child eligibility to age six or the beginning of kindergarten, ensuring that children do not age off nutrition support before they are eligible for school meals.
  2. The WIC Act would extend postpartum eligibility to two years, providing crucial nutrition support in the interpregnancy period so that WIC mothers can have healthier subsequent pregnancies.
  3. The WIC Act extends infant certification periods to two years, removing a burdensome paperwork requirement at a time of transition for the infant's diet.


The legislation is sponsored by Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in the Senate and Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Jenniffer González-Colon (R-PR), Linda Sánchez (D-CA), Kim Schrier (D-WA), and Don Young (R-AK) in the House. NWA estimates that approximately 600,000 children and nearly one million women could receive extended nutrition support, with additional administrative relief provided to over 1.65 million families with infants. These steps are necessary to streamline the WIC experience and provide accessible support, setting the stage for future life success and healthy growth.


The National WIC Association has endorsed and championed the WIC Act as a top legislative priority. If you have any questions about the WIC Act, please reach out to Brian Dittmeier at