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April 1993

Water Intoxication and Women, Infants, and Children Program-Reply

Author Affiliations

The Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health 615 N Wolfe St Baltimore, MD 21205

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(4):368. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160280018006

In Reply.—Discussions of WIC often ignore the original 1972 legislation and its extensions: there are three related but different programs. Prenatal supplementation is credited with prolonging gestation, increasing birth weights, and enhancing infants' cognitive skills. Although one third of all births are covered, these laudable goals have not been reached and our worst pediatric problem, very low birth weight and its consequences, causes ever more human suffering and enormous costs among the population groups that WIC is supposed to reach.1 Either the program is poorly targeted or the problem is not nutritional, or both. Although it does no harm and may help a small minority of truly undernourished pregnant women, it continues to divert much attention and considerable resources away from the research needed and the preventive, mostly educational, programs that can do something effective.2

For children younger than age 5 years WIC provides a generous dietary supplement: few

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