Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children
WIC provides federal grant funds to state health agencies and recognized Indian tribal organizations to operate programs for low-income pregnant and postpartum mothers, infants, and children (under age 5) who are at risk due to inadequate income and diet. The program offers monthly food packages consisting of specifically authorized supplemental foods containing nutrients often found lacking in the diets of WIC participants, and is operated at the local level by public health and other agencies with a link to health care providers. WIC foods include infant formula and cereals, milk, cheese, eggs, breakfast cereals, fruit and vegetable juices, dry beans and peas, and peanut butter. Participants must meet both a low-income and nutritional risk test to be eligible. Foods are provided either directly by a local WIC clinic, or more commonly, in the form of WIC vouchers issued to participants that list specific types and amounts of foods that may be redeemed by the participant at authorized grocery stores. The program is authorized through FY2003 under Section 17 of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and funded as a discretionary program by annual agriculture appropriations acts.