Healthy eating habits are learned in childhood from the foods children are given and the food choice examples set by those who care for them.
For families at nutritional risk, the WIC program can help those who might me missing the opportunity for a healthy diet. WIC is the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children. This program provides nutritious supplemental foods and special nutrition education and counseling. In Oklahoma, more than 90,000 nutritionally at-risk pregnant and new mothers, children up age 5 participate in the program.
The goal of the WIC program is to give our children the best possible start in life by providing nutrition education, breastfeeding support, healthy foods and health care referrals during the critical stages of fetal and childhood development.
To qualify for WIC, clients must meet income guidelines and have a brief health assessment by a trained health professional. Mothers aren’t the only ones who can apply for WIC benefits for children: two parent families, single mother or single father families, grandparents, foster parents, or a caretaker or guardian can all apply for WIC for children up age 5.
WIC is not a food assistance program. While WIC offers a variety of healthy food choices including fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and infant foods, it focuses on nutrition education. WIC participants have an opportunity to learn about choosing and preparing healthy snacks, quick and easy meals, healthy first foods, and feeding picky eaters.
The program supports breastfeeding mothers by providing breastfeeding information, personal assistance and a breast pump when needed.
WIC also introduces clients to health care services provided through public health including family planning services, guidance services, and immunization for children.
If you believe you, your family members, or someone else you know may be eligible for WIC, call LeFlore County Health Department at 918-647-8601.