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USDA Makes Healthy Changes to WIC Program

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture has finalized changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC. This marks the first major overhaul of the program since 1980.

Families will now have more access to fresh fruits and vegetables. According to the USDA, families will get 30 percent more in voucher checks to purchase fresh or frozen produce. Parents with older infants ages 9-12 months will have the option to purchase produce in place of some baby food. It also expands whole grain options to include things like whole wheat pastas. And for kids who have trouble tolerating milk, WIC will allow parents to buy yogurt instead.

"The checks help supplement their diet at critical points in their life of growth and development so it's giving more access to fruits and vegetables and other nutritious food," said Cedar Rapids WIC Coordinator Angela Munson.

WIC first started making changes to the program in 2007, when interim requirements were published. These final changes come as a result from public feedback over the last couple of years. As a result, families here in Iowa probably won't notice any major changes -- just more options to choose from when they go shopping with their WIC vouchers.