The Nutrition Services Branch administers the federally funded Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children WIC Program that provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding information when appropriate, and a referral for intensive care to low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants and children at nutritional risk.
Studies have shown pregnant women who participate in WIC have fewer premature births, fewer low birth weight babies and seek prenatal care earlier.
Encouraging mothers to breastfeed is a component of WIC. For mothers, breastfeeding reduces the risk of ovarian and breast cancer. For the infant, breastfeeding protects against infectious diseases and is related to lower rates of obesity, childhood cancer and asthma.
Nutritionists in local health departments provide medical nutrition therapy (individual intensive nutrition counseling) and community nutrition programs such as Choose 1 percent or Less and Weight the Reality Series.
Food Delivery/Data Section
The Food Delivery/Data Section processes and distributes more than 4 million food instruments, provides assistance to local WIC sites and submits program reports to the USDA.
The Medical Nutrition Therapy Program
Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) through local health departments improves quality of life and maximizes limited health care resources with a focus on the importance of nutrition in growth and development. Medical nutrition therapy:
- Is provided registered or licensed dietitians or certified nutritionist;
- Assesses of nutritional status;
- Includes an individualized diet and activity plan based on individual preference, medication, current health and family health history, appropriate physical activity and eating problems;
- Supports healing or assists in preventing further complications or future illnesses.
Services in Kentucky
In Kentucky, public health departments can provide medical nutrition therapy for people with or without insurance in 104 of 120 counties. Besides individual counseling, group nutrition education, grocery store tours to view healthy food choices, food demonstrations and cooking classes or working weight loss support groups are provided. Call your local health department for more information about services available in your area.