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April 28, 2005

USA: Call for more whole grains, fruit, vegetables under food scheme

The US should provide more whole grains, fruit and vegetables under its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, called the WIC program, one of the biggest federal food schemes, according to an expert report.

The US should provide more whole grains, fruit and vegetables under its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, called the WIC program, one of the biggest federal food schemes, according to an expert report.

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies proposes a number of changes to the WIC programme to encourage participants to consume more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, as well as to promote breast-feeding, among other goals, it said. “The recommendations also are the first effort to apply the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans to a national food program,” it said.

“Because scientific knowledge about nutrition has greatly increased since the WIC program’s inception, and the nutritional challenges facing families have altered significantly, it is definitely time for a change in the foods offered through WIC,” said Suzanne P. Murphy, chair of the committee that wrote the report and research professor, Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.

“We now know much more about the links between nutrition and chronic diseases, plus the nation is in the midst of an obesity epidemic,” she said. “Our proposed revisions would bring the foods provided through WIC up to date with current nutritional science and make it easier for participants to improve their diets and health.”

In 2000 the WIC program served about half of all US infants and about a quarter of children ages 1 through 4, along with many of their mothers.

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