The West Virginia WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Program has announced that beginning October 1, 2012, they will only provide Enafamil® ProSobee® to healthy infants who require soy based infant formula. Healthy infants who require a milk based formula will continue to be provided iron-fortified Similac® Advance®, Similac Sensitive®, and Similac for Spit Up®. The WV WIC Program will no longer provide standard milk or soy based formulas to infants beyond those listed above. However, special formula and medical foods are still available and provided for infants with special nutrition concerns and children with special health care needs through physician prescription.
“There is no official head to head study that shows that one brand of infant formula is much better for your baby than another,” said State WIC Director Denise Ferris, RD, DrPH. “Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has never taken a real stand and made any kind of recommendation about formula feeding, except to say that breastfeeding is preferred over formula and that you shouldn’t use a low-iron infant formula.”
In general, all baby and infant formula brands that are sold in the United States must meet the minimum nutritional requirements of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (the ‘Infant Formula Act’) and FDA regulations.
The WIC Program serves to safeguard the health of women, infants, and children ages 1-4 who are at nutritional risk by providing supplemental foods, nutrition education, and referrals to health care and other social services. WIC is based on the premise that early intervention programs during critical times of growth and development can help prevent future medical and developmental problems.
Mothers participating in WIC are encouraged to breastfeed their infants if possible, but WIC will provide infant formula for mothers who are unable to breastfeed. As a cost saving measure, the West Virginia WIC Program has been required by law since 1989 to have a contract with one formula manufacturer. These contracts provide a rebate for every can of standard formula purchased by a WIC participant. In turn, the rebates received are immediately turned back to the Program in order to serve more participants.
“WIC is a discretionary grant program funded annually by federal appropriations law. The number of participants who can be served within a fixed budget depends heavily on the Program’s food package costs,” said Farris. “The special aspect of this cost-containment program is that it allows us to save over $2 million which in turn is used to provide WIC services to an additional 15,000 West Virginians each year. No family should sacrifice the health of their children simply because they can’t afford to purchase enough nutritious foods.”
The WV WIC Program operates through the Department of Health and Human Resources’ Bureau for Public Health. Local WIC agencies provide services in all 55 counties. For more information, or to see if you qualify, call your local WIC office or 304-558-0030. You may also receive additional information by calling 2-1-1 or visiting us on the internet at http://ons.wvdhhr.org.