LB - Yavapai Herbal Services

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news June 25, 2016

10/3/2009 5:19:00 PM
Cut the fat: New rules in place for WIC food purchases

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- Unable to defeat childhood obesity with public relations campaigns, state health officials are going to start using their power to force parents to buy healthier items.

Families enrolled in the WIC nutrition program -- for women, infants and children -- will find that their coupons are no longer good for the same quantities of some of the items they were getting for free before. Most notably, the milk, cheese and juices that formed much of the basis of the diet will be available in much smaller amounts.

And mothers and children older than 2 will be able to get only fat-free and low-fat milk.

The list instead will include more whole grains. WIC families will be able to get soy-based beverages and tofu. Canned tuna and salmon will now be an acceptable purchase.

And for the first time ever, there will be specific allocations for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Acting state Health Director Will Humble said the change will mean a lot more healthy Arizona children.

The guidelines to qualify for WIC are fairly generous: A family of three can have income up to $33,875 and remain eligible; the figure for a family of four is $40,794.

What that means, Humble said, is about 190,000 Arizona families are getting WIC coupons. That's close to 60 percent of all families with children age 5 and younger.

"We're finally able to do something about obesity besides just preaching to people to get some exercise and eat right,' he said. Humble said WIC foods are a "pretty significant' source of nourishment in homes of eligible families.

"With this change in the WIC menu, we have the opportunity to really hard-wire healthier eating habits into little kids, and into families that have little kids.'

The change, said Humble, reflects a new focus on the problem.

"The WIC menu was really derived at a time in the 70's when hunger was a major public health issue,' he explained. That's why the list of eligible foods was focused on "foods that are decent foods but, in general, have quite a bit of fat and a lot of sugar.'

"It was a lot of cheese,' Humble said.

"Over the last 30 years, we've seen a transition from when hunger was the major public health issue to today, when obesity is a far bigger public health issue,' he explained. Hence, the need for a different menu.

The cheese won't be gone. But the purchases will be limited to a single 16-ounce package each time.

The amount of milk available also will be less as will what Humble called "sugary juices.'

"In exchange, we'll be asking people to make healthier choices with their WIC coupons,' he said.

Humble said it's going to take some time for the changes to have an effect. The first hurdle, he said, is convincing people to use those coupons for fresh fruits and vegetables.

He said it will take some time for parents to figure out what their children will and will not eat. Humble said the state hopes to help out a bit with recipes "so that they know how to use garbanzo beans, so that they know how to use asparagus, so they know how to use artichokes.'

"Unless you know what to do with them, you can't present them in a way that's going to be tasty to your family,' he continued. " And they might not eat it.'

While the change in what WIC coupons will buy will make healthier foods available, it can't actually force recipients to always make better choices.

For example, at least half of the items on the new list of acceptable cereals must be made with whole grains. But that list still includes other items like corn flakes and puffed corn balls.

But Karen Sell, chief of the bureau of nutrition and physical activity for the health department, said these are preferable to other breakfast alternatives, ranging from high-sugar cereals to bacon and ham.

The change also will affect retailers: In order to be able to continue accepting WIC coupons, some smaller stores had to start carrying fresh fruits and vegetables.

"Some of them had to change their business strategy and order produce and fruits that they have never ordered before,' he said. That's important because those coupons cannot be redeemed for canned items.

The new standards today also actively encourage new mothers to breast feed their newborns.

"If we can verify that they're going through the breast feeding process, they can actually qualify for additional coupons,' Humble said. "So we're trying to incentivize moms, not just because it's the right thing to do but because they can actually get more WIC coupons.'

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   One dead, five injured in 10 vehicle crash on I-17 Sunday (6403 views)

•   Jerome Declares Emergency: Town under mandatory water restrictions (4535 views)

•   Game and Fish reports nuisance bear may have moved on (2964 views)

•   RUMOR CONTROL: No, Verde Valley Humane Society, does not euthanize dogs (2479 views)

•   26 wildland fires currently burning in Arizona (2436 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, October 4, 2009
Article comment by: P.O.'d Taxpayer

My friend works in a convenience store and you would not believe the TRASH that most people on this program purchase on a daily basis. This needs to be controlled because most of the things that they buy are simply sugared trash. And they just hand it over to their kids. Limit what they can purchase after all it is the taxpayer that always has to foot the medical bills for these people.

Posted: Sunday, October 4, 2009
Article comment by: HSR0601

Topic : Obesity. I personally recognize that wheat is a far better diet than meat on the ground it usually goes out of body with ease and rapidity, and we are well aware that our heath depends upon smooth metabolism and blood stream associated with the immune system and how important our daily workout is, as well. I still think the critical conditions mostly come from breach of our immune system, and the food that stays long in the body is more likely to become a source where germs, bacterias and the like multiply. Sounds outlandish, but wheat might be a principal "clean and healthy" food that has led western society to the most decent culture of all.

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Yavapai Herbal Services

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved