Island Program Improves Nutrition for Women and Children

Justina Juan and Braddah Junius
Justina Juan and Braddah Junius
Linda Chock
Linda Chock

KALIHI-PALAMA (KHNL) -- Major changes in store for a long time island program aimed at improving nutrition for thousands.

With the new year here, many have eating healthy as a resolution.

And for those low-income families getting help from the state to do just that, there could be some important changes to their diet

"What did you eat yesterday?"

"What did you eat, rice and corn"

Justina Juan and her son Braddah Junius are just two of the over 30,000 clients of the state's supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children or WIC for short.

"Our whole object is to raise healthy families by providing nutritious foods," said Linda Chock with the Department of Health.

The program not only monitors clients health but also provides nutrition counseling and assistance to buy wholesome foods.

"Helping out with milk, it's expensive out there so it's a big help into our pocket especially being a single parent," said Juan.

For decades, milk and cheese have been staples of the WIC program but come next year island meals will be modified.

Some of the changes in the program would cut down on milk and cheese but increase fruits and vegetables.

"We're hoping that the changes will promote better health through less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber," said Chock.

Other changes will allow baby food as part of the program and limit certain cereals, juice and other foods.

By changing the old food plan, the state hopes to combat growing health problems in the islands.

"Good nutrition during younger years will also have an impact on child obesity and prevent chronic diseases later in life," Chock said.

The state will be spending the next few months talking with clients about their needs as well as with vendors about products before putting the new changes into place next year.