The following is a summary of “Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children food package revisions and anemia in children aged 2–5 years,” published in the October 2022 issue of Clinical Nutrition by Sanjeevi, et al.

Low-income women and children in the US are given nutritional support through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). In October 2009, the WIC food package was revised to reflect nutritional suggestions. More fruits, vegetables, healthy grains, and low-fat milk were added to the updated package. For a study, researchers sought to investigate the relationship between children’s consumption of iron and anemia markers and the redesigned WIC package.

Anemia and iron intake variables were compared between WIC (n = 1,497 and n = 1,626 for anemia and iron intake variables, respectively) and WIC-eligible nonparticipating children (n = 1,183 and n = 1,322 for anemia and iron intake variables, respectively), aged 2–5 y, before and after the 2009 revisions using a quasi-experimental difference-in-difference design. The pre- and post-2009 revisions were represented by the NHANES 2003–2008 and 2011–2018 data, respectively.

In children from WIC-participating families, the 2009 package changes were substantially linked with lower odds of anemia (-4.3% points; 95% CI: -7.5, -1.1% points) and nonthalassemic microcytic anemia (-1.7% points; 95% CI: -3.3, -0.1% points). Additionally, a higher nutritional adequacy ratio (0.04; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.07) and a higher likelihood of WIC participants achieving the RDA (12.1% points; 95% CI: 3.2, 21.0% points) for iron were substantially associated with the improved WIC package.

The results of the study showed that the WIC 2009 changes had a positive effect on children’s iron deficiency anemia since they were linked to decreased odds of nonthalassemic microcytic anemia and greater dietary iron adequacy. It indicated that nutritional policies may be extremely important in promoting the well-being of vulnerable children in the United States.