Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Commends Report Proposing Improvements to WIC Program

January 6, 2017

CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics commends the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for the release of a congressionally mandated report that proposes improvements to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) by better aligning with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and promoting and supporting breast-feeding.

The Academy supports the recommendation in the Review of WIC Food Packages: Improving Balance and Choice, Final Report to increase the value of vouchers that allow recipients to purchase vegetables and fruits, which will help them meet their nutrient needs for potassium and fiber. The proposed changes for vouchers would also help families provide healthy food options for their children.

Academy members are leaders in administering WIC, one of the largest nutrition programs in America, providing access to healthy foods and nutrition education for pregnant women and new moms.

"This report validates the importance of the current food package while adding new foods to optimize nutritional health," said registered dietitian nutritionist and the Academy's 2016-2017 President Lucille Beseler. "Working with families every day, I know firsthand the importance of the WIC food package for women and children who otherwise would not have access to the healthful foods they need."

"The proposed changes make it easier for our most vulnerable citizens to follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans while offering increased flexibility and food choice," Beseler said.

The new changes will also support cultural eating patterns, other food preferences and special dietary needs like allergies.

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All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy's Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use "registered dietitian nutritionist" (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at eatright.org.