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WIC income eligibility guidelines increase

Income eligibility guidelines for the North Dakota Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children have increased, according Colleen Pearce, WIC program director with the North Dakota Department of Health.

Effective April 1, a family of four can earn up to $3,667 each month (or $849 each week for the household) and still meet income eligibility requirements.

Funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the WIC Program has improved children’s health, growth and development, and prevented health problems for almost 40 years. WIC benefits include quality nutrition and breastfeeding education; referrals to other services; and monthly access to foods rich in calcium, iron and protein to help bolster the health of women who are pregnant, postpartum or breastfeeding, as well as babies and children younger than five.

WIC foods are designed to fit the nutrition needs of each WIC participant and include only milk, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, 100 percent fruit juice, beans, whole grains, cereals and fresh fruits and vegetables. WIC supports breastfeeding as the optimal way to feed infants, but infants who are not breastfeeding receive iron-fortified formula and older infants also receive baby food.

“Studies show that the proper nutrition WIC children receive helps them enter school ready to learn,” Pearce said.

To qualify for WIC, families must reside in North Dakota, meet the income requirements and have a nutritional or medical need for WIC services, such as anemia or inadequate diet. Need is determined by measuring the child’s or woman’s height and weight, performing a hemoglobin test and taking his or her health and dietary history.

To find out if anyone qualifies, call the local WIC agency or the state WIC office at (800) 472-2286. For more information, contact Pearce, North Dakota Department of Health, at (701) 328-2496.