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Research

Research Proves WIC Makes A Difference

Benefits to Women and Newborns
  • WIC saves public and private health care dollars. In Florida, $1.77 was saved in associated Medicaid costs during the first 60 days after birth for every $1.00 spent to serve a pregnant woman in WIC. 1

  • WIC participation significantly increases the number of women seeking adequate prenatal care. 1, 2, 3

  • WIC dramatically lowers infant mortality by approximately one-quarter to two-thirds among the Medicaid beneficiaries who participated in WIC, compared to Medicaid beneficiaries who did not participate in WIC. 4

  • WIC improves the dietary intake of pregnant and postpartum women and improves weight gain in pregnant women. 1, 6, 7

  • WIC participation decreased the incidence of low birth weight by 3.3% and decreased preterm births by 3.5%. 1

  • Participation in Florida's WIC program by 30 weeks gestation prevented 191 very low birth weight (VLBW) Medicaid births or an estimated reduction of 0.6% of live births that were VLBW. This is an estimated cost savings of $2.3 million in Medicaid costs in Florida. 8
Benefits to Children
  • WIC lowers the rate of anemia among participating children ages six months to five years of age. The data show an average decrease in the anemia rate of over 16% for each year from 1980 to 1992. 9

  • WIC significantly improves children's diets, particularly in iron, vitamin C, thiamin, niacin and vitamin B6. 10

  • WIC improves the growth of at-risk infants and children. Researchers found that participating 3 to 3 1/2 year olds had weight gains of 1 kilogram in additional weight due to WIC benefits after being enrolled for 11 months and had a growth rate of 2 centimeters in additional height after receiving benefits for 6 months. 5

  • Four and five year old children who participated in WIC in early childhood have better vocabulary and digit memory scores than comparable children who did not participate in WIC. 10

  • WIC participation leads to higher rates of immunization against childhood diseases. 10
References
  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. The Savings in Medicaid Costs for Newborns and Their Mothers from Prenatal Participation in the WIC Program. October 1990.

  2. Rush, David, Jose M. Alvir, David A. Kenny, Sally S. Johnson, and Daniel G. Horvitz."Historical Study of Pregnancy Outcomes." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 48 (August 1988): 412-28.

  3. Kotelchuck, Milton, Janet Schwartz, Marlene Anderka, and Karl Finison. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Division of Family Health Services. "WIC Participation and Pregnancy Outcomes: Massachusetts Statewide Evaluation Project." American Journal of Public Health. 74 (October 1984): 1086-92.

  4. U. S. Department of Agriculture. Infant Mortality Among Medicaid Newborns in Five States; The Effects of Prenatal WIC Participation. May 1993.

  5. Edozien, Joseph, Boyd Switzer, and Rebecca Bryan. "Medical Evaluation of the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 32 (March 1979): 677-92.

  6. Cann, Bette, Donna Horgen, Sheldon Margen, Janet King, and Nicholas Jewell. "Benefits Associated with WIC Supplemental Feeding During the Interpregnancy Interval." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 45 (January 1987): 29-41.

  7. Rush, David, Nancy L. Sloan, Jessica Leighton, Jose M. Alvir, Daniel G. Horvitz, W. Burleigh Seaver, Gail C. Garbowski, Sally S. Johnson, Richard A. Kulka, Mimi Holt, James W. Devore, Judith T. Lynch, M. Beebe Woodside, and David S. Shanklin. "Longitudinal Study of Pregnant Women." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 48 (August 1988): 439-83.

  8. U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service. Very Low Birth weight Among Medicaid Newborns in Five States: The Effects of Prenatal WIC Participation. September 1992.

  9. Henchy, Geraldine and Lynn Parker. "WIC Works-Let's Make it Work for Everyone." Food Research and Action Center. May 1993.

  10. Rush, David, Jessica Leighton, Nancy L. Sloan, Jose M. Alvir, Daniel G. Horvitz, W. Burleigh Seaver, Gail C. Garbowski, Sally S. Johnson, Richard A. Kulka, James W. Devore, Mimi Holt, Judith T. Lynch, Thomas G. Virag, M. Beebe Woodside, and David S. Shanklin. "Study of Infants and Children." The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 48 (August 1988): 484-511.