Maryland ranks third, behind California and Vermont.
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BALTIMORE, October 11, 2017 — More than 141,000 low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children up to age 5 in Maryland received benefits in 2014 through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). These benefits include nutritious foods, as well as nutrition education, health care referrals, and breastfeeding support.
According to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), WIC served an estimated 63.5 percent of eligible women, infants, and young children in Maryland in 2014, compared to a 54.8 percent rate nationally. Maryland had one of the highest WIC participation rates (participants compared to those eligible to receive benefits) in the country, behind only California and Vermont.
While the USDA report reveals an overall trend of declining WIC participation, Maryland’s participation has remained consistently higher than the national rate since 2005, the first year data was collected.
“We’re pleased to have the third highest WIC participation in the nation, and we appreciate the hard work and commitment of all the WIC staff that serve mothers, babies, and children in WIC clinics throughout Maryland,” said Michael J. Wilson, director, Maryland Hunger Solutions. “However, as there are still thousands of eligible low-income women and children in Maryland who are not enrolled in WIC and not getting the nutrition they need for healthy growth and development, we still have a lot of work to do.”
Participation in WIC is associated with not only better diets for both mothers and children, which reduces childhood obesity, but healthier births, lower infant mortality, and increased immunization rates and access to regular health care. Children who participate in WIC also are likely to have better academic outcomes than low-income children who do not benefit from the program.
Maryland Hunger Solutions is partnering with allied organizations and agencies, WIC program administrators, and WIC-authorized grocery stores and farmers markets to improve the reach of WIC for women and young children.
About Maryland Hunger Solutions
Maryland Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research & Action Center, works to end hunger throughout the state of Maryland.