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About 9 million low-income women and young children receive federal food assistance under the U.S. government’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, and Latino mothers and their kids make-up over 40% of participants.
Soon these families will have greater access to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains under changes to the program unveiled on February 28, 2014.
In its final form, the overhaul will boost by 30%, or $2 per month, the allowance for each child’s fruit and vegetable purchases, and permit fresh produce in lieu of jarred infant food for babies, if their parents prefer.
The update also expands whole grain options available to recipients and allows yogurt as a partial milk substitute, adding to the soy-based beverages and tofu that were previously included.
Moreover, states and local WIC agencies will be given more flexibility in selecting foods to meet the nutritional and cultural needs of their beneficiaries.
The changes were recommended by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences.