National WIC Association: “The effects of the WIC benefit bump have been immediate and decisive . . . but this transformative investment in the nutrition security of young families is at risk.”
Press Contact: Brian Dittmeier, firstname.lastname@example.org
March 1, 2022
Earlier today, the National WIC Association (NWA), in partnership with researchers from the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI), released a new report that reveals an increase in child fruit and vegetable consumption among participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) after the WIC benefit was enhanced through the American Rescue Plan Act in summer 2021. The report analyzes over 10,000 responses from WIC participants across 5 State WIC Agencies.
WIC’s fruit and vegetable benefit was increased from $9-11 per month to $35 per month as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, before being extended in October 2021 through the fiscal year 2022 appropriations process. Appropriators adjusted the WIC fruit and vegetable benefit to $24 per month for children, $43 per month for pregnant and postpartum participants, and $47 for breastfeeding participants. The current levels of the WIC benefit bump reflect 50 percent of recommended intake under the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – amounts recommended in a comprehensive 2017 review by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). Unless Congress acts, the WIC benefit bump is set to expire on March 31, 2022.
Brian Dittmeier, Senior Director of Public Policy at the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response:
“This report demonstrates that the WIC benefit bump is working exactly as Congress intended, building on science-based recommendations that enhance WIC’s effective nutrition intervention to deliver healthier outcomes for young children. The effects of the WIC benefit bump have been immediate and decisive, with consumption patterns shifting quickly after families had added value to their WIC benefits. WIC families want healthier options for their children, and additional WIC investment is a critical step toward assuring equitable access to nutritious foods, mitigating chronic diet-related conditions such as obesity and diabetes, and growing a healthier next generation. But this transformative investment in the nutrition security of young families is at risk, with over 4.7 million WIC participants waiting on Congress to extend the WIC benefit bump. Congress must act with all deliberate haste to pass an omnibus agreement that extends the WIC benefit bump through September 2022.”
Specific findings of the report include: