Age limit for WIC checks increases food insecurity

10 months 2 days 12 hours ago September 20, 2016 Sep 20, 2016 Tuesday, September 20 2016 Tuesday, September 20, 2016 10:37:00 AM CDT in News
By: Waverly Colville, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

COLUMBIA- The University of Missouri's research has identified a problem with the Supplemental Nurtrition Program for Women, Infants and Children's age limit. Children are only eligible to receive assistance through WIC until age 5, which researchers say shouldn't be limited.

This age limit assumes that children will begin school at 5 and therefore become eligible for free and reduced price lunch programs, said Irma Arteaga, assistant professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs. However, state and local rules could prevent a child from beginning school at 5, leaving them with no benefits. 

Arteaga and her team analyzd 1,350 children between the ages of four and a half and six nationally. They found that this WIC age requirement increases food insecurity for children who haven't started school. 

"People who cannot provide enough food for themselves or their children are more likely to miss days at work, experience declines in their health and experience more anxiety, creating economic losses," said Colleen Heflin, professor in the Truman School of Public Affairs. "Children without access to sufficient food are likely to have lower educational outcomes and worse health than children in food secure households."

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