CWA Flash E-Newsletter - June 25, 2019
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  June: Alcohol and Substance Abuse  
Among California low-income women included in the 2013-14 Maternal and Infant Health Assessment (MIHA) Survey, up to 30 percent reported smoking before, during, or after pregnancy, up to 30% reported binge-drinking before getting pregnant, and up to 13 percent reported drinking during the third trimester. WIC Can Help provide information and referrals to help prevent these harmful effects.     
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Try Something New!  
Have you tried taking a different path on your afternoon walk or trying a different vegetable at the Farmers' Market lately? The simple practice of Doing Something New keeps you challenged, fosters creativity, keeps you and others engaged, and brings a little excitement to your mind, body, and spirit. So go ahead and try that dance class or start a journal, you never know, until you try something new! 
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WIC Funding Updates 
Hearings continue in the House on a number of appropriations bills, including WIC funding, with the Senate still to begin hearings as it awaits total budget limits. There appears to be no opposition in the House or administration to WIC funding levels of 6 billion, including an increase to 90 million for breastfeeding peer counselors, a historic first for fully authorizing peer counselor funds. About half of the twelve appropriations bills have been considered with a goal of June 30 for passage. Disagreements exist in the House bill over a number issues, such as border wall construction. 
Immigration Updates 
It has been an eventful and disheartening couple of weeks in terms of immigration news. President Trump announced ICE enforcement activities were to last weekend targeting "millions" of families with final removal orders - experts said that the number would be closer to 2000 - throughout several major cities. The news caused significant anxiety, as reported by the Washington Post, CNN, and Buzzfeed. Within a few days, the President called off the raids, saying that he would give Republican and Democratic lawmakers two weeks to 'work out a solution.' Meanwhile deep concern and disgust have been growing at the mistreatment and deplorable conditions of immigrants, particularly children, held in border detention facilities. Yesterday the government announced it was moving most children from a remote Border Patrol station in Texas near the border with Mexico following reports that more than 300 children were detained there and caring for each other with inadequate food, water and sanitation. The proposal on the expansion of public charge remains under review and has not been finalized, but the Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition has released new community-tested resources in multiple languages. The comment period for the May 10 proposed rule that would prohibit "mixed-status" immigrant families from living in public and other subsidized housing is coming to a close on July 9th. As a result of this proposal, 25,000 families, including 55,000 children, will be forced to either separate or face eviction and an increased risk of homelessness. As public health workers, we know that stable housing is a fundamental building block for family and community health and that ripping families away from stable housing, or tearing families apart has severe and deadly public health outcomes for families and for our society. We encourage families and organizations to submit their comments on the HUD proposal, as well as take action on behalf of children detained at the border. 
Census Controversies and CA Convenings 
New information points to political gain, related to inclusion of the citizenship question, which could severely limit census completion and impact funding and representation across states. CA Census 2020 provides excellent resources for engaging local organizations in census completion. WIC agencies are excellent locations for census participation. Learn more at a convening, or check out this interactive tool about the importance of the census, including to WIC.
Our Top News Picks
Obesity Down Among Children Enrolled in WIC
A study that looked at changes in overweight and obesity among low-income young children enrolled in WIC from 2010 to 2016 found that obesity declined to 13.9% from 15.9%; overweight and obesity combined declined to 29.1% from 32.5%. Declines were seen overall and in all age, sex, and racial/ethnic subgroups. Reasons for the declines are unknown but could include WIC food package revisions, along with local, state, and national initiatives. 
Breast Milk Carries Good Bacteria...But Only From the Breast  
Recently, scientists have discovered that breast milk is teeming with beneficial bacteria that colonize the infant's gut, and could help set the course for the baby's growing immune system and metabolism, but only when it comes directly from the mother's breast - the same beneficial bacteria is not observed when the milk is pumped and delivered later by bottle. Pumped milk still carries the previously-known other riches of breast milk. 
SNAP and WIC Together are Most Effective Against Food Insecurity    
Forty million Americans, including 6.5 million children, are food insecure, according to USDA, which means they do not have enough food for an active, healthy life. Many rely on SNAP - the largest food assistance program for low-income families - to help make ends meet. Still, 51.2% of households receiving SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, were food insecure in 2016. Given the extent of food insecurity, a team of Iowa State University economists developed a methodology to analyze potential redundancies between SNAP and WIC, the third-largest food assistance program in the U.S. Their research, published in the Southern Economic Journal, provides evidence that the programs are in fact complementary, not redundant. They found that participating in both SNAP and WIC compared to SNAP alone increases food security by at least 2 percentage points and potentially as much as 24 percentage points. 
Pregnant Women in the U.S. May Not Receive Adequate Nutrition 
Many pregnant women in the U.S. may not be getting enough of certain crucial nutrients, while others may be getting too much, a new study suggests. Based a study of more than 1,000 pregnant women, researchers estimated that even with supplements, many women were getting inadequate levels of magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin E, and iron. In contrast, most women were getting too much sodium, and many were consuming too much folic acid and iron. The new study comes at a time when new dietary guidelines are being drawn up which will include information on prenatal nutrition. 
Breastfeeding is Worth $3.6B to the AU Economy 
Researchers, using data from the Australian National Infant Feeding Survey and the Norwegian value for unpasteurized human milk as sold in institutional not-for-profit banks, estimate the value of breastfeeding in Australia is $3.6 billion. Although the analysis advocates for viewing breastfeeding as food production, the purpose of the analysis is not to commodify breastmilk, but rather to recognize that "money is the language of policymakers", and researchers want breastfeeding to be supported by policy. Ideally, they say, this would include at least six months of full-time maternity leave, implementing the WHO's Baby Friendly Health Initiative (which promotes breastfeeding as the norm) as part of basic care at all maternal health services, as well as regulating the marketing of baby foods "so that mothers do not think they are comparable with breastfeeding." The Department of Health is currently preparing the Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy to be announced later this month.
The WIC Hub
The world of WIC is vast- with 90 state WIC agencies, nearly 10,000 local agencies, and over 40 years of research and constant innovation. WIC staff, researchers, and advocates produce resources in a host of formats. To help streamline information, the National WIC Association (NWA) created a central website - - that is searchable by geography, resource type, and topic. The WIC Hub is a tool for WIC staff, researchers, and advocates to navigate and explore the world of WIC. Development of the WIC Hub was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 
Kids and Hot Cars
In 2018, 52 children died in hot cars. It was the deadliest year on record in the past 20 years. Since 1998, almost 800 children have died from vehicular heatstroke; 24% occurred in employer parking lots while the parent or caregiver was at work. Parents and caregivers can act immediately to end these preventable deaths. Educate yourself and everyone you know about this danger. The National Safety Council offers a free online course about the danger of vehicular heatstroke in children, the three primary circumstances that have led to children dying and what we all can do to prevent these deaths. Complete and share this training now, and check out free printable resources. 
Annual Kids Count Data Book
The 30th edition of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT® Data Book begins by exploring how America's child population - and the American childhood experience - has changed since 1990. There's some good news to share: Of the 16 areas of child well-being tracked across four domains - health, education, family and community, and economic well-being - 11 have improved since the Foundation published its first Data Book 30 editions ago. On the flip side, the risk of babies being born at a low weight continues to rise, racial inequities remain systemic and stubbornly persistent, and 12% of kids across the country are still growing up in areas of concentrated poverty.  
California WIC Association
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Phone: 916-572-0700; Fax: 916-572-0760