Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Percent Of US Infants Use The Food Assistance Program WIC?

I came across a statistic about WIC, the USDA's 3rd largest food assistance program (after Food Stamps and the School Lunch Program).

WIC is short for "The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children." It serves low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, and children up to age 5. Besides food, it provides nutrition education and referrals to healthcare and social services.

Question: What percent of all infants in the US participate in WIC?
  • 5%
  • 10%
  • 20%
  • 30%
  • 50%
  • 70%
Update: Answer in footnotes below.

These pictures of cereal and eggs are from Washington State's WIC Approved Food List. From what I can tell, states share their graphics with the USDA. Washington State must have had a pretty good graphic set to get prime link space on the USDA's WIC page.

You can see the rest of their brochure at Washington State WIC Program (pdf). I learned a lot looking at this.
The answer is 50%:
"Almost half of all infants and about a quarter of all children ages 1-4 in the United States participate in the program."
- USDA: The WIC Program


Tree said...

Wow! I'm speechless.

caulfieldkid said...

I say 50% (I think we actually qualify but don't utilize the program). From the looks of that PDF, I can't say I'm too broken up about it.


Angela and Melinda said...

So the "do not buy" eggs are too expensive? And are there "do not buy" cereals as well? I wonder why oatmeal isn't recommended for non-infants. Why 46 oz cans of juice? Why only "old orchard" brand frozen?
Hmmm, "organic is allowed" for some items.
I really wonder what sort of subtext is at work here. It is good that they recommend breast-feeding (at least, last time I checked, that was still supposed to be good for infants).

Bix said...

"Carrots" was its own food group until a few months ago. No kidding. I think it was meant to cover all the fruits and vegetables.

Bix said...

Ohhh, shaun, that's a good point! This percentage is the number that "participate", not the number that would qualify. Sheesh, it's even bigger.

Jones said...

How could a government be so retarded?

There should be a law which says that the government should act upon the best interest of the citizens instead of the companies. There should be the possibility to sue the individuals which are behind these practices, it is very dangerous to educate people with not so much knowledge about nutrition, they will consider this as a truth since it's from their "trusted" government.

A year ago, I would agree on all this information because I didn't know any better,

Bix said...

So, half, fully half, at least half, of all the children born now in the US are born into poor families? There's something wrong with that.

Pump style backpack said...

I am surprised with the poll result, I was expecting it to be higher than 60%, still not bad.