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DOH-PINELLAS WIC SERVES FAMILIES THROUGH SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION AND EDUCATION

By Maggie Hall, PIO

February 26, 2020

Every March, the WIC staff at the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (DOH-Pinellas) uses March’s National Nutrition Month observance to educate clients and the community about healthy eating.

In March, clients will find activities for children, stretching sessions, reading corners and areas with lots of nutrition information posted to educate them on ways to stay healthy using the foods provided, which include legumes and other proteins, whole grains, milk or baby formula and juice. Staff nutritionists assist families in eating better so that babies can thrive and grow.

The program’s income limits are more generous than for those in other assistance programs; for example, an expectant mom counts as two people in determining household size. A family of three expecting a baby can earn up to $47,638 a year and still receive WIC benefits. (The program is exempt from the Federal Public Charge rule that affects self-sufficiency, which went into effect on Feb. 24.)

WIC—its full name is Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children—works to help expectant and nursing mothers, infants, babies and toddlers develop good eating habits as they learn to use the no-cost items provided on their monthly benefits. Its peer counselors encourage and assist women who choose to breastfeed their babies by providing education, support and resources.

The WIC program in Pinellas serves about 14,000 families each month. Clients have access to many community resources, including health screenings, immunization referrals, dental referrals, substance abuse referrals, and various other social services.

For more information about DOH-Pinellas, go to www.PinellasHealth.com and follow us on Twitter @HealthyPinellas.

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About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyFla. For more information about the Florida Department of Health, please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.