OREGON COUNTY -- The Oregon County Health Department is reminding women that most families in the county qualify for the Womens, Infants and Childrens Nutritional Program (WIC).
"It has been our experience, most families in the area don't realize they qualify for WIC," said Oregon County Health Department Administrator Shiela Russell.
If you are pregnant, nursing, or have children under the age of five, most residents of the county could be eligible for extra benefits to supplement their family's food needs. "Many people in the area qualify and don't even realize it," she said.
There are several occupations in the area who bring in more income to the family during the warm weather months. These families might not receive as much income during the cold weather months, and based on their yearly income, could qualify for the program.
"This program (WIC), provides nutrition education, supplemental nutritional food vouchers, and a basic health screening to women, infants and children. It is designed to improve the health of pregnant, nursing and postpartum women, children, infants and children up to 5-years-old who are at risk nutritionally," Russell said.
Surveys in the past show that good nutrition during pregnancy, infancy and childhood can decrease the chance for illness. "Birth defects, anemia, premature births and low birth weight babies are all examples of medical conditions that can be caused by poor nutrition," Russell said.
There is an income guideline for WIC participants to follow. To learn more about the guidelines and the WIC program, contact the Oregon County Health Department at Alton, located on the south side of the court square or call 417-778-7450, Monday through Friday, or at the Thayer office located across from city hall on Tuesday and Wednesday at 417-264-3114. Office hours at both locations are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.