The Health Department salutes their WIC program. WIC stands for Women, Infants and Children," and is a Department of Agriculture program whose goals are to improve the nutritional status of its recipients by providing supplemental foods, nutrition education and routine nutritional assessments. If you are a pregnant women, a new mother, are breastfeeding or have a child under the age of five; you may benefit from participation in the Health Departments' WIC program.
It has been proven that infants and children who are fed nutritious foods every day are healthier and often learn faster in school. A woman who eats a balanced diet during pregnancy is likely to have fewer problems and has a greater chance of having a healthy baby.
Those who qualify can receive monthly allotments of infant formula, cereals, fruit juices, milk, cheese, eggs, dried beans and peanut butter.
And in accordance with new WIC guidelines to be instituted soon, foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread items, and baby food will be offered.
Michele Beckstrom, RN WIC/Casemanagement Nurse notes, "These new WIC food packages will be a great help to us in our effort to better educate area families on the importance of good nutrition in overall family health and well being. The fact is more than one third of US adults - more than 72 million people - and 16% of US children are obese. Since 1980, obesity rates for adults have doubled and rates for children have tripled."
Obesity has physical, psychological, and social consequences in adults and children. Children and adolescents are developing obesity-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, that were once only seen in adults.
Obese children are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and abnormal glucose tolerance.
Last year the Health Department provided food coupons to an average of 1,125 residents each month. And the Department had 719 women (pregnant/breastfeeding), 938 Infants (parents), and 910 Children (1-5yrs) in attendance at Nutrition Education classes.
To qualify for the program, participants must reside in Henry or Stark county, and fall within specific income guidelines. Participants are seen at screening clinics held at the Health Department offices, Route 78 South, Kewanee and 103 1st St., Colona where their nutritional and health status is assessed by specially trained staff.
Working families are encouraged to apply, as the income guidelines are fairly generous. For example, a family of 4 can make $2,900 a month and qualify. WIC will not cut down on the number of food stamps a person may be receiving, nor will it prevent families from taking advantage of such services as Headstart.
Persons interested in learning more about WIC services and how they may assist their family are encouraged to call the Health Department offices at 852-5272 or 792-4011 (Henry) or 852-3115 (Stark).
Well-Child Clinic program
The Henry and Stark County Health Departments remind area residents of their Well-Child Clinic program. Clinics are held in Kewanee at the Health Department offices, Rt. 78 South, Kewanee.
Through their Well-Child clinic the Department hopes that by offering comprehensive health services to area children today; health problems will be prevented in the future.
Clinic services include: periodic "head to toe" well-child exams for children from birth to age 20; hemoglobin tests, blood lead screenings, immunizations, developmental screenings, and counseling and referral.
The services of the well-child clinics are available to all area residents. The clinic will accept medicaid payments and private pay. A sliding fee scale, based on the client's income, has been established to assist low-income families to obtain services.
For more information or to make an appointment for the Health Department's Well-Child clinic, call the Department at (309) 852-5272
WIC SUPPLEMENT FOOD PROGRAM
Supplemental foods and nutritional education are available to Henry and Stark County residents who meet certain health and economic guidelines. Clients may receive food items such as milk, formula, eggs, cereal and juice and participate in nutrition education classes. Certified lactation counselors are available at both offices.
Services for Children
HIGH RISK INFANT VISITS
Premature and other priority newborns routinely receive visits and developmental screenings from Public health nurses.
FAMILY PLANNING CLINIC
Provides basic family planning services to all Henry and Stark County residents. The Clinic emphasizes education, personal responsibility and prevention as the means for good family health.