Can you name one of the largest nutrition programs in the nation? The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program. In Colorado, WIC works to assist thousands of families each year through food education and healthy food supplements. These efforts help children from low-income homes grow, thrive and reach their potential in life.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recently reviewed the WIC Food Package. Their goal was to make it easier for enrolled families to have access to better nutrition. As a result, they recommended more fruits and vegetables and less juice offered through WIC. This guidance better aligns the Food Package with the Dietary
Guidelines for Americans.
Too much juice has been shown to contribute to tooth decay and weight gain in children. A 6-ounce apple juice box has about 20 grams, or 5 teaspoons, of sugar in it. That’s more sugar than a kid should have in an entire day. All that sugar is why the new recommendations call for increasing cash value vouchers for families to purchase vegetables and fruits. The full news release can be found here.
We applaud the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for these recommendations. They support the hard work local WIC providers do for the families they serve. These proposed changes reflect our efforts through the Cavities Get Around campaign. Helping families reduce children’s juice consumption and increase access to water is a
priority to preventing tooth decay.
Here is what the recommendations would mean for juice offered to families:
The recommendation is currently up for review and in the hands of Food and Nutrition Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The revised food packages would have a positive impact on the health of our most vulnerable populations. This is one
example of how we can affect positive policy change to improve the health of Coloradans, especially our children.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide nonpartisan, objective guidance for decision makers on pressing issues. Their work spurs progress by connecting understandings of science, engineering, and medicine to advising national policies and practice.