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Women, Infants and Children
Multnomah County Health DepartmentTosh Seeman, Registered Dietitian: The purpose of WIC is to serve struggling families whether they are new or whether they have been struggling for a long time. WIC helps provide the family, specifically the children, the pregnant women, breast feeding women with healthy foods. And what’s really special about WIC is that it just doesn’t provide supplementary foods but that there is a nutrition component to it.
Tosh Seeman: In the last year and a half, WIC has provided fresh fruit and vegetable vouchers for families. In the past they have not had that. And, fruits and vegetables we all know are essential to good nutrition. The clients can use the fresh and frozen fruits and vegetable vouchers at local grocery stores if that's’ what they choose to do.
Shantae Johnson & Family: WIC is important for me and my family because it provides the support of the vouchers helping us to makes ends meet. And also, it helps us to think about nutrition and different and unique ways. Like for instance the new “my plate” that they just came out with which is the food pyramid. So, we base a lot of our meals off of the “myplate.”
Julia Cretarolo, WIC Participant: I have participated in a lot of WIC classes, especially the nutritional ones. I’ve learned that making sure to make healthy food choices and offering lots of different options in healthy foods is very important for young children. And, if they don’t like it to keep trying.
Tosh Seeman: When clients come into WIC, we do talk about nutrition but we do talk about the whole family and entire family dynamics. And frequently, struggling families will talk about their lack of resources. And this gives us an opportunity to refer clients onto whether it be basic health care, prenatal care, dental care within the county system, immunizations. Some families have health care in place but there immunization costs are so exorbitant that they have no place to go and the county does have immunization clinics.
David Brown, WIC Supervisor: WIC’s vision is for all families to have the resources and the knowledge to achieve optimal nutrition and health status. We do this by educating WIC families on healthy lifestyles, healthy foods, whole grains, fruits and vegetables. We do this also by teaching breastfeeding, physical activity and healthy food habits. We do know that breastfeeding is a proven measure to decrease the incidence of obesity which is in epidemic form right now in the United States.
Mary Wachsmuth, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Coordinator: The breastfeeding class helps moms a lot to know what to expect especially in peer counseling prenatally so they get lots of breastfeeding information more than what they would get in a hospital or other breastfeeding type classes and we do focus on other things besides breastfeeding. How to relate well to partners and communicate how to transition to parenthood and what to expect in the hospital and the early postpartum period.
David Brown: WIC serves the larger community by one, bringing a tremendous amount of money into the communities in the local grocery store. WIC statewide brings almost 67 million dollars in food net benefits to local grocery stores. WIC also brings a lot of money almost 400 thousand dollars statewide to the local farmers, farm stands and farmers markets to provide the local and buy the local vegetables and fruits. Also for the larger community, WIC provides nutrition education and long term growth benefits for families to not only reduce obesity but also develop healthy habits to keep them healthy. A healthier community reduces the cost on the community.
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