Review of WIC Food Packages

Type: Consensus Study
Topics: Food and Nutrition, Children and Families
Board: Food and Nutrition Board

Activity Description

An ad hoc expert committee will undertake a 2-phase comprehensive examination of the United States Department of Agriculture's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages, i.e. the foods provided to supplement the diet of participants, tailored to their age and health status. The committee will review and assess the nutritional status and food and nutritional needs of the WIC-eligible population and the impact of the 2009 regulation, finalized in 2014, to exclude white potatoes from WIC Food Packages against the key recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, on nutrient intake and indicators of diet quality; and changes in nutrient and food intake values and indices of diet quality if fresh white potatoes are included in the WIC benefit.

The committee will make specific evidence-based recommendations based on its evidence review and grounded in the most recently available science. Recommendations for changes to the WIC food packages will build on the revisions recommended in the 2006 IOM WIC report and implemented in 2009. Recommended revisions to WIC food packages will be consistent with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the Dietary Reference Intakes, and advice from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The recommendations will take into account the health and cultural needs of the WIC participant population, support efficient program operations and allow effective administration across the geographic scope (national plus some U.S. territories) of the program. The goal is to recommend changes in the food packages, as appropriate, while ensuring that the recommendations are practical and economical, reflect current nutritional science, and allow the program to effectively meet the nutritional and cultural needs of the WIC population.

The study will be carried out in two phases and produce a letter report as well as reports from each phase. The letter report will include dietary and energy intake analyses, food intake analyses relative to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, diet quality indices, and a sensitivity analysis to determine the impact of exclusion of white potatoes in WIC food packages on consumption of other foods and the ability of WIC participants to meet key recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The report will contain findings and recommendations for white potatoes that are: consistent with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans, consider the health and cultural needs of the WIC population, and can be administered effectively and efficiently nationwide and in a cost-effective manner. The Phase I report will contain a description of the evidence-based review strategy, dietary and energy intake analyses, data on breastfeeding trends and variability, and food expenditure analysis and will recommend general food groups that could be used to address specific nutritional deficits. The Phase II report will be based on the findings in Phase I, including a review of white potatoes and WIC, evidence gathered from the literature review, evaluation of costs, and assessment of the sensitivity and regulatory impact analyses and will recommend revisions for WIC Food Packages that are culturally suitable, cost-neutral, efficient for nationwide distribution, and non-burdensome to administration.


For more information or to submit a comment.

Public comments may be submitted over the course of the study, but should be submitted by June 30th for committee consideration.


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