WIC: Integrating Language Nutrition into Messages about Food Nutrition
With a mission of safeguarding the health of low-income women and their young children (up to age 5), the Women, Infants and Children Program – commonly referred to as WIC – provides a vehicle for reaching a critical population of families with children who are at risk of not receiving abundant language nutrition.
- Children in low-income families – like those who are eligible for WIC services – hear an average of 11 million words by age 3, 32 million fewer than their peers in higher income families.
- WIC serves 53 percent of all infants, up to age one, born in the United States, reaching approximately 8.3 million women and children in 2014.
- More than 50 percent of new and expectant parents in Georgia – and 80 percent of children in low-income families in the state – are eligible for WIC enrollment.
- In 2015, 26 states had more than 100,000 individuals enrolled WIC while the enrollment in 36 states exceeds 50,000.
- Because WIC offices are located in every county in Georgia but managed by a central state office, TWMB was able to quickly and efficiently scale statewide. A similar model can be applied in other states.
Talk With Me Baby, with leadership provided by the Georgia Department of Public Health, developed a WIC Champions Tool Kit which it used to train the more than 1,000 WIC nutritionists working in the state’s 199 WIC offices. This tool kit prepared the WIC nutritionists to incorporate messages about language nutrition into their interactions with enrolled families. The tool kit and supplementary materials include flip charts, posters, PowerPoint presentations, and educational and collateral materials that parents can use with children (stickers, bracelets, postcards, flashcards, and prescription pad magnets).
In addition, WIC offices are showing TWMB’s Baby Ella video on televisions in their waiting rooms to reinforce those messages while families are waiting for their appointments.