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Consensus Study Report


The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) began 40 years ago as a pilot program and has since grown to serve over 8 million pregnant women, and mothers of and their infants and young children. Today the program serves more than a quarter of the pregnant women and half of the infants in the United States, at an annual cost of about $6.2 billion. Through its contribution to the nutritional needs of pregnant, breastfeeding, and post-partum women; infants; and children under 5 years of age; this federally supported nutrition assistance program is integral to meeting national nutrition policy goals for a significant portion of the U.S. population.

To assure the continued success of the WIC, Congress mandated that the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reevaluate the program's food packages every 10 years. In 2014, the USDA asked the Institute of Medicine to undertake this reevaluation to ensure continued alignment with the goals of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In this third report, the committee provides its final analyses, recommendations, and the supporting rationale.


Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Review of WIC Food Packages: Improving Balance and Choice: Final Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

1062 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-45016-4
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-45019-5
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xviii
Summary 1-16
1 Introduction and the Process for Revising the WIC Food Packages 17-50
2 The WIC Program: Changes Since the Last Review and Continuing Challenges 51-108
3 Alignment of the Current Food Packages with Dietary Guidance, Special Dietary Needs, and Cultural Eating Practices or Food Preferences 109-156
4 Nutrient and Food Group Intakes of WIC Participants 157-214
5 Nutrient and Food Group Priorities for the WIC Food Packages 215-260
6 The Revised Food Packages 261-314
7 Evaluation of Cost 315-336
8 Sensitivity Analysis for Food Package Nutrient, Food Group, and Cost Models 337-370
9 How the Revised Food Packages Meet the Criteria Specified 371-394
10 The Regulatory Impact Analysis (Abridged) 395-442
11 Recommendations for Implementation and Research 443-464
Appendix A: Acronyms and Abbreviations 465-470
Appendix B: Glossary 471-482
Appendix C: WIC Food Package Regulation 483-492
Appendix D: Details of the Committee's Information-Gathering Strategies 493-520
Appendix E: USDA-Funded Studies of the 2009 Food Package Changes 521-534
Appendix F: Changes in the WIC Food Packages and Program Participation 535-540
Appendix G: Barriers to Participation and Redemption 541-546
Appendix H: Kosher and Halal Substitution Options 547-550
Appendix I: Complementary Feeding: Summary of Information Reviewed 551-558
Appendix J: Nutrient and Food Intake of WIC Subgroups: Analytical Methods and Results 559-674
Appendix K: Study Design Strategies for Reducing the Effects of Selection Bias in Studies Comparing WIC Participants to Others 675-680
Appendix L: Gap Analysis 681-688
Appendix M: Behavioral Approaches in WIC as a Potential Action 689-692
Appendix N: Comparison of Current and Revised Food Packages 693-706
Appendix O: Specific Nutrient Comparisons 707-712
Appendix P: Food Specification Detail 713-726
Appendix Q: Foods and Food Specifications That Were Reviewed, But Not Changed 727-738
Appendix R: Development of the Food Package Nutrient and Cost Profiles 739-770
Appendix S: Sensitivity Tests and Results 771-816
Appendix T: Amounts of Food Groups and Nutrients Provided by the Current, Compared to the Revised WIC Food Packages 817-868
Appendix U: The Regulatory Impact Analysis (Complete) 869-988
Appendix V: Committee Biosketches 989-996
Index 997-1044

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