Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 39
• USDA should implement NASEM’s recommendations, including
those on making specific culturally sensitive dairy items, grains, and
vegetables more available. Within each WIC food group (dairy, grains,
etc.), choices should be nutritious, meet federal requirements, and reflect
sensitivity to the cultural food needs of mothers and children from various
communities of color. In addition, state WIC agencies should authorize
all NASEM-endorsed foods rather than being allowed to delete individual
items. USDA should amend the rules to allow state and local agencies to
tailor food packages for participants with identified nutritional deficiencies
and to request additional support to address nutrition-related conditions.
WHY IS PROVIDING
Food is a source of
nourishment and identity.
2. People prefer to cook and
eat familiar foods.
For more, see Appendix 4.
Reduce maternal and infant mortality and strengthen maternal and infant health
Women and babies of color have higher maternal/ infant mortality rates.161 The rates of infant mortality (defined as babies
born alive who die before their first birthday) for African American, Indigenous,162 and Native Hawaiian163 babies are twice as
high as for white babies. African Americans have the highest mortality rate.164
As described earlier, one of
WIC’s major accomplishments (as
Figure 8: Infant Mortality Rates of African Americans and Whites
documented in a county in Ohio)
has been to significantly lower
the death rate of participating
African American infants. Their
mortality rate approached that of
white infants in this community.
For more complete data on infant
mortality, see Appendix 17.
Data on the impact of
participating in WIC on maternal
mortality is not centrally collected.
The U.S. population has stark
racial disparities in maternal
mortality, as shown in the table on
page 40. Indigenous women are
nearly four times as likely as white
Prenatal WIC Recipient
Non-WIC Comparison Group
women to die from complications
of pregnancy or childbirth. Note
that disaggregated data for Latinas
SOURCES: The Impact of Prenatal WIC Participation on Infant Mortality and Racial Disparities. National Center
is not available.
for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. April 2010.
Historical racism directly
contributes to higher maternal
mortality rates. Prenatal care has been proven to reduce maternal mortality, but one in three African American women and
one in two Indigenous women have fewer than the recommended number of prenatal care visits. 165 A study of Native Hawaiian
mothers found that they are twice as likely to receive no prenatal care until their third trimester. 166 Other factors that contribute
to maternal mortality are undernutrition and iron-deficiency anemia. As discussed earlier, expectant mothers who are African
American or Indigenous have higher rates of anemia and other micronutrient deficiencies than whites. 167 See Appendix 3 for
more information about historical racism and its impacts on maternal mortality.
A BREAD FOR THE WORLD INSTITUTE SPECIAL REPORT