In the late 1960s, during the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, the federal government focused a great deal of attention on helping low-income Americans.
The 1967 National Nutrition Survey revealed that many lower income children suffered from anemia and inadequate growth. These conditions can adversely affect brain size and cognitive ability. The study showed that children got off to a poor start both physically and mentally because they didn't have enough to eat or they didn't eat the right foods. Some children also suffered because mothers did not get adequate nutrition during their pregnancies.
In 1972, Congress passed bill sponsored by Senator Hubert H. Humphrey (D.Minn.) to create the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. Congress funded the program for two years and put the U.S. Department of Agriculture (US DA) in charge of it.
When Did WIC Come to NC?
The first WIC offices in North Carolina opened their doors in 1974. The offices were located in Guilford County, Johnston County, Mecklenburg County, Orange County, Reynolds Health Center, and Warren County.
What Has Happened Since?
WIC has continued to change and grow over its 3-decade lifespan. USDA has streamlined the process for certifying income eligibility for families already receiving other federal assistance. The Department has added breastfeeding education and promotion to WIC responsibilities and also voter registration.
1994 marked WIC's 20th anniversary of providing good food, nutrition education, and health care referrals for women and children. It is an occasion worth celebrating. WIC has many triumphs to its credit. For instance, childhood anemia has dropped dramatic ally since the 1967 study -- and WIC has been credited as the major reasons for that decline. In 1996 the WIC Program serves approximately 190,000 women, infants and children each month.
In Mecklenburg County, the WIC Program serves approximately 23,000 women, infants and children each year.