Wednesday, April 25, 2007
WIC on the chopping block
Not too long ago, one of our producers suggested a story on the most utilized food program in the United States. The news: The Women, Infants and Children program was finally getting vouchers for fresh fruit and vegetables. It may not sound too enticing at first - it didn't to me -- but then I considered that we're battling an overweight and obesity epidemic in our children. So the government is just now offering low-income mothers and children assistance in purchasing fruit and vegetables? I asked the producer to check her facts.
WIC has been providing nutrition services for low-income women and children for over 30 years. For most of that time, malnutrition was a key problem - so the vouchers focused on milk, bread, cereal - foods that can sustain you. Now, the concern is overweight and obesity in children, so the Department of Agriculture decided to add vouchers for produce - a healthy diet addition -- that can be redeemed at local grocery stores.
This was great - a success story on battling overweight and obesity. But then the producer came back to me with more information. It turns out WIC is on the chopping block, facing a $145 million cut in President Bush's 2008 budget.
If this happens, some fear that the produce voucher proposal will disappear. For now, Congress is debating, one hopes keeping in mind what those dollar signs on the page mean in real life.
For more, watch American Morning on Thursday, 6-9 a.m. ET, and tune in to House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta weekend mornings at 8:30 a.m. ET?
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