From ConnecticutPlus.com

Health
USDA Awards Four Connecticut WIC Programs
By Department of Public Health (DPH)

Aug 12, 2016 - 7:27:23 PM

Hartford, CT - The Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that four of Connecticut’s local Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) programs are being recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for exemplary efforts in supporting breastfeeding WIC mothers. The four agencies are receiving the Loving Support Award of Excellence as part of the USDA’s National WIC Breastfeeding Week, celebrated August 1-7, to highlight their ongoing efforts to encourage breastfeeding among WIC participants.

The WIC program provides nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support and referrals to health and other social services to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age five. Connecticut currently has 12 WIC agencies and 24 clinic sites.

This is the second year that USDA has awarded the Loving Support Awards of Excellence. WIC agencies across the country that utilize the USDA Loving Support Model for successful peer counseling programs are eligible to apply. Awardees must demonstrate strong achievement of breastfeeding performance measures, effective peer counseling programs and community partnerships.

“We are proud our local WIC programs are receiving this national recognition for their dedicated efforts. The benefits of breastfeeding cannot be understated,” said Marge Chambers, DPH’s State WIC Director. “Breastfeeding support is just one component of WIC’s committed efforts to educate and promote the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, new mothers, and young children across our state.”

Five local WIC agencies offer peer counseling programs in Connecticut. Four of those five applied for and received the award:

- Santa Marquez Center and Hispanic Health Council (Hartford)
- Community Health Center WIC Peer Counseling Program (Fair Haven)
- Thames Valley Council for Community Action, Inc. WIC Peer Counseling Program (Norwich)
= Optimus Health Care Women Infants and Children Program (Bridgeport)

Representatives from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Northeast Regional Office will formally present the honors to the CT WIC awardees at the Statewide WIC Meeting held in September. There were nine total WIC agencies in the Northeast that received the award including the four from Connecticut. USDA recognized a total of 83 agencies across the country.

According to a 2010 study, if 90 percent of U.S. families could comply with medical recommendations to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the United States would prevent more than 900 deaths save $13 billion per year and from reduced direct and indirect medical costs and the cost of premature death.

To learn about WIC visit www.ct.gov/dph/wic.

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