March is National Nutrition Month
Bloomington…March is National Nutrition Month®, an annual nutrition education and information campaign led by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s theme, Fuel for the Future, highlights the importance of making food choices that are helpful for our bodies as well as the planet.
The campaign recognizes registered dietitian nutritionists (RD, RDN) and registered dietetic technicians (DTR) as nationally credentialed food and nutrition experts, including those serving the McLean County Health Department (MCHD) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
“The nutrition and counseling expertise that our Registered Dietician/WIC Nutritionists provide to WIC clients is crucial in assessing a client’s health history, eating patterns, and overall nutrition status,” said Mary Colby, MCHD WIC Program Supervisor. “Their education background and continuing education requirements ensure they are prepared for a variety of situations and up to date with current research and best practices to support the families we serve.”
“In Illinois, approximately 40% of all babies born are on the WIC program. Evidence proves that WIC is cost effective in protecting or improving the health and nutritional status of low-income women, infants, and children. WIC program participation reduces fetal death, infant mortality, low birth weight rates, and iron deficiency anemia in children,” added Kim Anderson, MCHD Director of Maternal and Child Health Division.
The USDA Food & Nutrition Service announced that Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in Illinois will see a reduction in benefits after March 2023. This is due to the end of emergency allotments that allowed SNAP households to receive additional benefits due to the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, because food prices are now higher, this return to normal SNAP benefits could affect the food choices SNAP recipient make.
To assist during National Nutrition Month, MCHD is promoting nutrition resources available to all residents through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website EatRight.org, which features segments such as “Eating Right on a Budget” and “Smart Snacking Tips for Kids.” The USDA’s Nutrition.gov website also offers Nutrition by Life Stages such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, infants, teens, and older adults.
The WIC program aims to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, nutrition education and counseling, breastfeeding support, and referrals to other services. To find out if you are eligible visit the MCHD WIC page or call (309) 888-5457.