A new nationwide poll released by the National WIC Association (NWA) and Alliance to End Hunger reveals strong, bipartisan support for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) among likely 2022 voters. Conducted by ALG Research/McLaughlin & Associates in September 2021, the study confirmed voters would support increasing funding to WIC and further reforms to expand access, which currently serves about 6.2 million mothers, babies, and young children nationwide.
Specific findings include:
WIC provides a monthly benefit to purchase nutritious foods, quality nutrition and breastfeeding services, and healthcare referrals to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, as well as infants and children up to age 5. It is one of the nation’s most cost-effective nutrition programs; studies confirm taxpayer savings of $2.48 for every dollar spent on WIC. WIC reduces the risk of preterm birth, low birthweight, and infant mortality, increases breastfeeding initiation and duration, and enhances children’s diet quality as an effective intervention to mitigate childhood obesity.
During the pandemic, Congress took several steps to enhance WIC’s public health impact. In March 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act established waiver authority that permitted WIC providers to implement remote services – resulting in a 10% nationwide increase in child participation in the first year of the pandemic. In the American Rescue Plan Act, Congress enhanced the value of the WIC benefit to provide more than triple the benefit levels to purchase fruits and vegetables. Congress will continue to evaluate WIC reforms in the annual appropriations and Child Nutrition Reauthorization process.
“The American people like results, and that’s exactly what WIC delivers. Through enhanced access to nutritious foods and WIC’s quality nutrition and breastfeeding services, WIC contributes to healthy pregnancies and births, healthy babies, and healthy kids in every community across the country,” said Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President & CEO of the National WIC Association. “When policymakers look at where to invest federal funding, no priority is as precious as the health and future of our nation’s children. This poll validates the longstanding, bipartisan consensus that supporting the nutrition needs of pregnant women, new mothers, babies, and young children is a common-sense, urgent priority.”
“Over the past 19 months, we’ve witnessed unprecedented rates of hunger, particularly among Black and Latino families,” said Eric Mitchell, Executive Director of the Alliance to End Hunger. “Strengthening a program with proven consistent positive outcomes for women, children, and families is a no-brainer at a time like this.”
NWA is the non-profit voice of the 12,000 public health nutrition service provider agencies and the millions of mothers, babies, and young children participating in WIC. NWA joined the Alliance to End Hunger in spring 2021 to bring valuable insight to maternal and child nutrition.
For more information, visit nwica.org or alliancetoendhunger.org.