CWA Flash E-Newsletter - March 12, 2020
Guidance and Information on COVID-19  
State WIC programs and USDA are working feverishly to make adjustments to enable families to continue to receive WIC benefits, even more critical due to the impact of COVID-19. Local agencies are working with their local organization's response to COVID-19 and also being mindful of staff wellness.
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Summer Meals   
Families say, on average, their grocery bills are about $300 higher on months when kids are out of school; WIC Can Help gets the word out about free summer meals. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), also known as Summer Lunch, is a federally funded program that reimburses community organizations that provide free, nutritious meals to children 18 years of age and younger. 
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National Nutrition Month  
  March is National Nutrition Month®, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates this annually. As part of their campaign, they invite the public to focus on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Here is a ready-to-use toolkit with social media messages. 
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Dietary Guidelines - Comments Needed! 
The Food and Nutrition Service released a public comment opportunity in June 2019, which will close May 1, 2020 for the development of the 2020-2025 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Input from individuals and organizations is needed to guide the development of the new edition. For the first time ever, these guidelines will include nutrition recommendations for infants, toddlers, and pregnant and lactating parents. The DGAs inform federal nutrition programs like WIC and Child Care Food Program. The USBC has launched a new action tool titled "Urge the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to Support Breastfeeding."  ACTION: Individuals are invited to use the USBC action tool to submit public comments urging the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to support breastfeeding priorities.
California Complete Count Begins! 
This week postcards will begin to be mailed out to households across the nation with instructions for completing the census. Postcards will have a unique census ID number linked to the address. Completion can be online, by phone and for some households, by paper. Children have been undercounted in past censuses, which reduces funding for programs, including WIC. WIC agencies and community organizations are key informants and trusted messengers for posting information about the census and encouraging census completion. CWA has been working with CA First 5 Assn. and CA Head Start to provide census resources specific to young families. Visit the CWA Census 2020 webpage for resources, including a PowerPoint presentation and job aid for informing families about census completion, social media messages and videos, fact sheets and more. We won't have another census for 10 years, let's get strong census completion in 2020!
Public Charge Rule Is In Effect
The Trump Administration's expanded public charge rule went into effect on February 24th, despite pending litigation around the country. This is not the outcome that CWA had hoped for, and although WIC is explicitly excluded from the final rule, we continue to hear about the chilling effects on WIC participation. CWA has developed flyers and social media messaging in several for local WIC agencies to use, and concerned participants can use the Keep Your Benefits Texting and Online Tool to determine whether they might be subject to the public charge test. The tool is currently available in English at, or in Spanish at This tool is also available via text by texting "Benefits" (for English), "Libre" (for Spanish), "
福利" (for Chinese) or "liích" (for Vietnamese) to 650.376.8006. More resources, including free and low-cost legal referrals are available at
CWA News
The annual conference has been rescheduled to July 6-9, at the Town & Country Hotel, the same location. We will be enjoying summertime at CWA's 28th Annual Conference and Trade Show, Empowered California Families: Unite, Uplift, Inspire. We are working with speakers and trade show exhibitors and will post the draft agenda very soon. You can expect to get your professional education, network, be inspired and have fun! After hours you can relax by the pool or the family can enjoy the new waterslide.  ACTION: If you are registered for conference, you have an email from CWA with instructions. If you were not able to come in April, we hope you can come in July! Stay posted for an updated registration site!  
WIC Agents of Change
At the recent Agents of Change Summit, conference attendees heard about exciting changes in California WIC. The Summit, produced by Rescue Agency, an organization that helps governments and organizations impact behavior for improved health outcomes, works at the intersection of science, behavioral change and technology. The Summit brought together nearly 1000 attendees from state and local programs, technology and health care. Our Agents of Change include Susan Sabatier, Chief Data, Analysis, Research and Evaluation for CA WIC, speaking on WIC WISE, the California WIC Card and WIC app, with Andrea Weiss, WIC Director, Community Health Center, sharing their progress and lessons providing WIC services using telehealth, and Kiran Saluja, WIC Director, PHFE WIC, presenting on interactive texting, and analytics to maximize participation. We are proud of all of the CA WIC Agents of Change! 
Our Top News Picks
Component of Breast Milk Enhances Cognitive Development in Babies
Maternal factors, such as breast milk, have been shown to affect a baby's development, and previous animal studies have determined that a carbohydrate, the oligosaccharide 2'FL found in maternal milk, positively influences neurodevelopment. Now, in the first study done in humans, investigators at Children's Hospital Los Angeles in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego, have shown that 2'FL found in breast milk enhances cognitive development. Findings were published in PLOS ONE on Feb 12. 
WIC Works!
Two studies published in February illustrate some of the positive health outcomes brought about by WIC participation. One study, led by Dr. Shannon Whaley of PHFE WIC, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, found that lower household income, longer breastfeeding duration, and behavioral changes as a result of WIC nutrition education all made families more likely to continue WIC participation through age 2. A second study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that children who participated in WIC through their second birthdays had healthier diets than those who stopped receiving the program as infants. These two studies show both the value of WIC's multi-pronged approach - economic benefit, nutrition education, and lactation support are all critically important to families - as well as the health outcome of higher diet quality among young children. 
Vitamin D Deficiency During Pregnancy Linked to ADHD Risk 
A recent study showed that the risk of ADHD was 34 percent higher in children whose mother had a vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy than in those children whose mother's vitamin D level was sufficient during the first and second trimesters. The result was adjusted for maternal age, socioeconomic status and psychiatric history. 
Low-Calorie Sweeteners and Metabolic Response
A new study from Yale showed that people who periodically drank beverages with the low-calorie sweetener sucralose, which is found in low-cal soft drinks, candy, breakfast bars, and other products, did experience problematic metabolic and neural responses -- but only when a carbohydrate in the form of a tasteless sugar was added to the drink. In contrast, people drinking beverages with low-calorie sweeteners alone, or beverages with real sugar, showed no changes in brain or metabolic response to sugars. 
Kaiser RX Marketing
A recent report from Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy provide insights into the type of marketing strategies used by pharmaceutical companies and the negative impact on patients, providers and health care systems. Direct to consumer, coupons and discounts are profitable ways to promote medications that may not be needed or away from less expensive, but effective alternatives. A more recent marketing stream is through patient advocacy groups. Product education for providers can be useful but can also promote expensive medications. Billions is spent on free samples, promotional materials or funding of clinicians or research institutes, which has also been shown to increase prescribing of more expensive medication choices.
COVID-19 Resources for Families, Infants and Children
Social media is full of anxiety and misinformation about Covid-19. As this illness inevitably spreads in our communities, it's important to have accurate, evidence-based information. Check out CDC guidelines for your home , and specific guidelines for pregnant and breastfeeding women and infants . Older children may have anxiety based on what they see online or hear in the news, and it's just as important for them to have good information. NPR has released a comic for kids, Exploring the Coronavirus , that is printable in a zine format - check it out, along with other resources on talking to kids about Covid-19 . 
Resources from CDPH MCAH
Resources for clients and providers are available on the MCAH resource page. With flu season still going strong, you can share this video about flu shots during pregnancy. Also available are materials for patients and providers addressing opioid use during pregnancy. Other resources address pregnancy association maternal mortality, maternal mental health and more. 
Medi-Cal: Healthier California for All 
Over the last decade health care has been undergoing reforms, despite all the push back on the Affordable Care Act. A focus on the whole person, value of care provided, payment reform, health equity and provision of social determinants of health are becoming foundational to care. A major commitment in California for health care reform is Medi-Cal Healthier California for All, a multi-year initiative to continue to transform Medi-Cal to improve care and population health outcomes. Be sure to read about the initiative, learn about the various work groups, and subscribe to updates.
California WIC Association
3120 Freeboard Dr., Suite 101, West Sacramento, CA 95691

Phone: 916-572-0700; Fax: 916-572-0760