A key House Panel today directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Nutrition Services (FNS) to prepare a report assessing the benefits of allowing vitamins to be purchased through the supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children (WIC). The program serves more than 8 million poor—and nutrient-poor—women and children.
“Women, infants and children utilizing the WIC program deserve equal access to and should be allowed to purchase vitamins,” said Dan Fabricant, CEO and executive director of NPA. “The committee’s instructions are a step in the right direction towards addressing the crisis of undernourishment in America.”
Vitamin are proven to have many health benefits especially relevant to those the WIC program intends to help:
• Classic nutrient deficiency diseases (scurvy, pellagra, and iron deficiency anemia);
• Improve appetite and growth rates in low-income children;
• Prevent neural tube birth defects;
• Protect against heart disease and stroke; and
• Build bone mass in the young.
“The Natural Products Association would like to thank Congressman Dent for his leadership and commitment to finding common sense policy solutions to our country’s biggest challenges,” said Dr. Fabricant. “We will continue to look for policy options to improve access and availability to products that support a healthy lifestyle for American consumers.”
NPA also sent a letter to the chairman and ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations expressing its strong view that the WIC program should be expanded to include the purchase of multi-vitamins and multi-minerals.
The full letter to the committee can be viewed here.