March is National Nutrition Month, and the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District remind us that some of the very best food-and-nutrition expertise available in Northwest Georgia is offered to clients of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by 23 nutritionists, ten of whom are Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs), who serve the community through local county health departments.
WIC is a federally funded program generally available to low-income individuals and families who are at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. “Among other services, WIC provides supplemental foods designed to meet the special nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants and children up to five years of age who are at nutritional risk,” explains Northwest Health District WICNutrition Services Director Cicely Thomas.
“Our WIC nutritionists and RDNs are educated, trained, and trusted experts committed to improving the health of their clients and communities through food and nutrition. One of our foremost goals is to ensure that all Northwest Georgia children have access to the nutritious foods they need to get a good start in life.”
Throughout the year, WIC nutritionists and RDNs strive to communicate healthy eating messages that emphasize a balance of food and beverages to provide the body what it needs. “The total diet or overall pattern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating, Thomas says. “Most favorite foods can fit within this pattern if eaten in moderation with appropriate portion size and physical activity.”
“There can be a misperception that eating healthfully means giving up your favorite foods,” Thomas says, “but maintaining good health is not about a specific food, meal, or time of year, rather, a life-long balance of healthy behaviors that leaves plenty of time for the foods and activities we love.”
WIC clients receive vouchers to buy healthy foods from WIC-authorized vendors. In addition, they receive education on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.
WIC clients also receive support and information about breastfeeding and help in finding health care and other community services.
You can take the online WIC Eligibility Assessment to see if you qualify or contact the WIC office at your local health department to make an appointment and find out which documents you will need to bring with you. At your appointment, WIC staff will check to see if you and your family qualify.
Go to https://dph.georgia.gov/wic-eligibility-assessment for the online WIC eligibility assessment and tohttps://nwgapublichealth.org/counties for address and contact information for your local health department.
For more information on WIC, contact your local health department.
About the Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District: The Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest Health District works to track and prevent the spread of disease; promote health, safety, and wellbeing through education and communication; and prepare for, respond to, and ensure our communities are ready to handle public health emergencies, thereby improving the quality of life for individuals and families in ten northwest Georgia counties: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Haralson, Paulding, Polk and Walker. Our county health departments provide a variety of medical services; monitor area environmental safety, including restaurant inspections; and help ensure their communities are prepared for disasters. Find us on the web at www.nwgapublichealth.org. Follow us on Facebook to receive news, emergency messages, and health information at www.facebook.com/NorthwestHealthDistrict