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USDA Adds More Foods To Mom and Child Program

Update Date: Mar 03, 2014 02:37 PM EST

For pregnant women, mothers and children who have trouble with purchasing foods, the federal government offers financial assistance via the form of vouchers. However, the government program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, which is more popularly known as WIC, only offers coverage on certain types of foods. Now, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the program next year will include more whole-grain products, yogurt, canned fish, fruits and vegetables.

The food changes are the final step for the USDA in their journey to overhaul and improve upon the WIC program. The overhaul process started in 2007 with the goal of finding ways of encouraging people to eat healthier. Previous changes that were put into place back in 2009 included cutting out fruit juice from infant food packages and decreasing the amount of saturated fats that were being covered by WIC. The overhaul also made purchasing fruits and vegetables easier.

The latest update set for next year will also include fresh fruits and vegetables for older infants who are no longer eating jarred baby food. The USDA has decided to continue to take off white potatoes on the list of covered foods because people tend to already eat them regardless of having a voucher or not.

"The department recognizes that white potatoes can be a healthful part of one's diet," USDA wrote in the rule reported by the Washington Post. "However, WIC food packages are carefully designed to address the supplemental nutritional needs of a specific population."

Since the program controls what mothers buy, including more healthy options could help combat the obesity epidemic. Oftentimes, low-income families have to turn to unhealthy options that contribute to obesity and other health conditions. With these new foods, families would ideally eat better. The program serves around nine million people with roughly 50 percent of them being children.

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