Division of Community Health Promotion
Bureau of WIC Program Services
WIC is the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. This program provides nutrition education and counseling; breastfeeding promotion and support; health care and social service referrals including referrals for immunizations; and supplemental nutritious foods to low and moderate income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children. WIC services are offered at county health departments, many community/migrant health centers and at some Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). The Bureau of WIC and Nutrition Services develops policies, rules and procedures for state and local operations; plans, implements and maintains the WIC information system; provides technical assistance and training to local agencies; conducts on-site monitoring and develops educational materials. The Bureau of WIC and Nutrition Services also manages the food grant; assists in the recruitment of nutritionists; secures federal approval for equipment purchases; authorizes, trains, monitors and sanctions participating retail grocery stores; administers contracts for infant formula rebates and banking services; and develops the required federal/state plan, procedures manual and other required reports.
The WIC program focuses on the prevention of nutrition-related health problems by providing supplemental nutritious foods; nutrition education; breastfeeding promotion and support; and referrals to other health and social services agencies. The program serves low to moderate income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children less than five years of age.
The WIC target population consists of pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children less than five years of age. Eligibility is based on both income and nutrition risk. Income eligibility is set at 185% of the federal poverty guidelines. Nutrition risk eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to, anemia, factors associated with high risk pregnancy, nutrition related medical conditions, or inadequate growth patterns.
WIC saves public and private health care dollars. In Florida, $1.77 was saved in associated Medicaid costs for every dollar spent to serve a pregnant woman in WIC. Studies have shown that participation in the Florida WIC Program by pregnant women before 30 weeks gestation prevented 191 very low birth weight Medicaid births, with a corresponding savings of $2.3 million in Florida's Medicaid costs. WIC has also been associated with reducing the rate of anemia among participating children by 16 percent and improving their growth and immunization rates.