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September 1997

Welfare Reform and Food Insecurity: Influence on Children

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin (Drs Willis, Kliegman, and Meurer), and the New Concept Self Development Center (Ms Perry), Milwaukee, Wis.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(9):871-875. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170460009002

Targeted nutritional interventions have demonstrated the beneficial influences of nutrition programs for children such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC program). However, we believe that the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, signed into law August 22, 1996, will drastically revise food accessibility for poor families. This law expands flexibility to states in operating nutrition programs while reducing funding by approximately $26 billion. Currently for many child nutrition programs, there are more eligible individuals than can be served even at the present level of funding. We have serious concerns that financial reductions and administrative obstacles will gravely affect the health and development of high-risk, poor children. The WIC program was envisioned to provide nutritional safety nets for low-income pregnant and lactating women as well as infants and children until the age of 5 years. Research supports that nutritional resources available during childhood are essential to