Congressman Don Young Introduces Legislation to Support Low-Income Families, Improve Nutritional Outcomes in Young Children
Washington, February 3, 2021
Washington, D.C. – Today, Alaska Congressman Don Young introduced the Infants Need Food And Nutrition Today (INFANT) Act – legislation to remove an unnecessary rule that limits the number of foods eligible to purchase under the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Supplemental Nutrition Program. Current WIC policy prohibits certain food combinations from being purchased under the program. The INFANT Act eliminates these unnecessary guidelines and allows mothers and children receiving WIC assistance to purchase healthier and more nutritious foods.
“As a former elementary school teacher, I know first-hand how important good nutrition is to a child’s ability to grow and reach their full potential,” said Congressman Young. “Countless families depend on the WIC program to keep their infant children nourished and healthy, and this is especially true as our nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong, healthy communities are more important than ever, and it is simply unacceptable that current guidelines prevent WIC recipients from purchasing wholesome meats and produce for their children. Bureaucracy should not stand in the way of children having access to the nutrients that help them learn and grow. I am proud to introduce the INFANT Act to help eliminate the unnecessary rules that prevent parents from accessing certain combinations of healthy foods. Alaska is home to countless farmers, fishermen, and producers whose products could benefit the health of Alaska’s children, and the mothers in our state who rely on WIC to feed their little ones should be afforded the option of purchasing healthy, locally sourced foods. I encourage my friends on both sides of the aisle to support my legislation for the sake of Alaska’s children – and children across our nation.”
"Reforming guidelines to allow for more nutritious food combinations will positively impact over 3 million infants and toddlers currently participating in WIC Food supplement programs," said medical professional Zoi Maroudas, President, and Founder of Bambino's Baby Food in Anchorage. "Childhood obesity and food allergy rates are at an all-time high, and a perfect balanced diet sourced from clean, nutrient-rich ingredients is the key to overcoming these epidemics. A child's first meals set the foundation for life-long eating habits, and they are vital to infant development and immune system support. How and what a baby eats in their formative years has profound impacts on overall health and longevity well into their adult years. When a child is offered a pureed mixture of protein, vegetables, and grain, the flavor is balanced, and their nutrition is complete. A holistic diet of protein, grains, and vegetables provide immense benefits to a child's immune system, brain function, bone strength, and much more. Foods with higher nutritional value are the cornerstone to targeting childhood obesity, limiting and supporting those with food allergies, and the key to fostering a healthier nation. Very simply, food is life, and federal regulations should empower all children with the same opportunity to access fresh, healthy foods. It is a great honor to work with Congressman Young on childhood nutrition issues, and I am grateful to him for taking this issue seriously and for introducing the INFANT Act."