Sequestration will cut food assistance to 600,000 low-income moms & children

Women, Children, and Infants (WIC). SOURCE:

Sequestration will cut the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant, and Children [WIC] by $333 million, taking away vital food assistance and health care services for 600,000 low-income mothers and their children.

If sequestration takes effect on March 1, states would have to cut back on health clinic hours and cut off food assistance for mothers who are not breastfeeding.

In a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee, the USDA noted that “African-American women have the lowest breastfeeding rates so they are more likely to represent a significant portion of these women.”

The WIC program served 8.9 million Americans in 2012. About half of those receiving benefits are children under the age of 5; a quarter of the beneficiaries are infants; and a quarter are low-income mothers.

The program provides food vouchers for pregnant women, breastfeeding moms, and their children under the age of 5. The program encourages women to breastfeed by providing them with greater variety and quantity of food, breast pumps, and one-on-one support with counselors. Women who are not able to breastfeed are provided rebates for infant formulas.

“WIC has been shown to provide important improvements in nutrition of women and children, lower health care costs, and improved cognitive development of children,” wrote USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.


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