Go Ahead… Pick Your WIC!!

Well, I am currently in full swing of rotations! As of right now, I am rotating in the morning at Taziki’s Mediterranean Café for Institutional Foodservice and at West Virginia’s Monongalia County WIC office in the afternoons.

WIC is available for so many different types of families. The program is available to married and single parents, working or non-working, those receiving other types of aid or not participating in any other programs. Even if you are a grandparent, foster parent, or other legal guardian of a child under the age of 5, you can even apply for WIC.

WIC is available to expecting mothers, up until 6 months after the end of their pregnancy. Infants are categorized in another group and covered from birth – 5 months old. Children are covered from 11 months – 5 years of age. And throughout their childhood, they have appointments every 6 months.

Today marked my “official” first day at the WIC office. Every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, the Mon. County WIC schedules their nutrition clinics to see participants for follow-up and new client assessments. This afternoon, I observed a Registered Dietitian at WIC, assess 4 different appointments.

Each participant with a nutrition clinic appointment attends or completes an online nutrition education class 3 months prior to their appointment. The nutrition education classes cover a variety of topics like infant nutrition, nutrition during pregnancy, and shopping on a limited budget. Within the participant’s assessments, WIC RDs ask the parent(s)/proxy, who may also be the primary food preparer, a series of assessment questions. More importantly, these questions should spark a conversation with the participant(s) to try and get the most information about the nutritional status of the client. The suggested assessment questions are broken into three categories: women, infant, and children… How fitting!

Once the participants are seen and finished their clinic appointment, they are given food vouchers which can be used at WIC-approved stores. These vouchers are designated for specific foods through the WIC program. Here are some types of foods that are WIC-approved:

        Milk- Whole milk during infancy, 2% or less during childhood

        Cheese

        Infant Cereal

        Fresh Fruits

        Eggs

        Peanut Butter

        Infant Formula

        Fresh Vegetables

        Juice

        Canned Fish

        Beans

        Whole Grains Breads

        Cereal

        Baby Food

        Soy Milk

Participants receive certain foods based on their individual nutritional needs. If for any reason, mothers are incapable of breastfeeding their infant, WIC provides vouchers for formula. Yes, WIC is major advocate of breastfeeding but, sometimes women are not physically able to do so. Formula that WIC offers is grouped into 3 categories:

1.     Powder: Powder formula that is combined with water, usually cereal formula.

2.     Concentrate: Liquid formula combined with water, usually producing a bubbling effect. This formula may not be best choice for a child with nutritional problems like spitting up or reflux.

3.     Ready-to-Feed: Requires no addition of water.

The WIC is to improve the health of participants by providing the following benefits:

        Nutrition Workshops on a Variety of Topics

        Breastfeeding Support

        Nutritious Foods

        Referrals to Other Health and Social Service Agencies

Overall, I think the first day went really well. I still have a lot to learn and honestly, I’m soaking up the entire experience. I have a list of other projects that I will be completing at WIC so; I’ll have much more to talk about in the upcoming weeks!

A laminated visual that an RD at WIC has on-hand to show clients at appointments.

A laminated visual that an RD at WIC has on-hand to show clients at appointments.

Information that is provided within one of WIC's several pamphlets for participants, based by age of child/infant.

Information that is provided within one of WIC’s several pamphlets for participants, based by age of child/infant.

Fertility and a Woman’s Diet…

According to a new observational research study, the Mediterranean diet may improve a woman’s fertility. The study, completed in Spain, drew a conclusion to the connection between the Mediterranean diet and fertility based on insulin response. The American or Western diet is packed with sugars and processed foods. So, in order for the body to digest and use these foods correctly, an increased amount of insulin is needed. When the body has too much insulin, the other hormones in the body, like reproductive hormones, are not released accurately.

The Mediterranean diet, which is loaded with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats/oils, and whole grains, helps to control blood glucose. By helping to control the body’s blood glucose, or insulin response, this can assist fertility and reproductive hormones maintain a healthy balance.

Researchers studied more than 500 women who reported having trouble getting pregnant. Another 1,600 women with at least one successful pregnancy ending in live birth were also included in the study as a control group. The research split the group into Western diet and Mediterranean diet categories. The women in the Western diet category showed no difference in fertility whether they followed a Western diet strictly or loosely. The Mediterranean diet group, however, showed a significant difference in fertility based on how closely women followed the diet.

In contrast, approximately 17% of women who followed the Mediterranean diet firmly reported problems becoming pregnant. When women followed the diet loosely, that number jumped to 26%.

So, you can see that nothing is absolutely proven with the diet and fertility… yet.  Not all doctors are convinced about the connection. There isn’t enough information to show that this diet pattern can assist a woman at becoming pregnant.

Also found in a new research study, diets containing foods rich in monounsaturated fat, like green fruit, olive oil, peanuts, almonds, and cashews, could triple chances of women becoming pregnant via fertility treatment. Health professionals believe a diet similar to this could assist most women wanting to become pregnant naturally as well. In this study, it was clear that consuming a diet high in saturated fat, found in dairy and red meat, appeared to impair women’s fertility. Diets high in saturated fat have also been linked to lower sperm counts in men. The School of Public Health at Harvard looked at how the intakes of different types of fats affect success rates of IVF treatment in women mostly in their 30s. The study found the women who ate the most monounsaturated fat had up to 3x the chance of giving birth via IVF, compared to those who ate the least.

BabyMed

Med Diet and Fertility

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