By Lucas Rudy, USAG Italy PAO Student InternMay 8, 2019
VICENZA, Italy (May 8, 2019) -- The development of healthy and resilient families has long been a priority in military communities, and one initiative works to achieve this objective by offering several useful services to military families.
Founded in 2001, the Women, Infants and Children Overseas Program is a Department of Defense program that provides nutrition education and supplemental nutritious foods to families assigned to both Vicenza and Darby military communities.
According to the local WIC handbook, the primary purpose of the program is to "help families lead healthier lives," with results including decreased rates of iron deficiency anemia in mothers and children, and more. To accomplish this goal, program staff offer several useful services for expectant mothers, infants and young children to ensure the practice of a healthy lifestyle.
WIC Overseas provides nutrition education classes -- both in the form of individual counseling as well as group classes -- to assist in planning a healthy diet. New and expectant mothers have the opportunity to receive training in prenatal nutrition, breastfeeding, and learning how to provide balanced and nutritious foods for themselves and their children.
WIC Overseas also provides supplemental food packages based on nutritional needs of the client. Counselors assist in selecting a food package to be purchased at the commissary, which can include milk, cheese, eggs, bread and iron-fortified infant foods.
The WIC Overseas program is open to qualifying active-duty servicemembers, Department of Defense employees, and contractors and their families. Eligible participants for the program include pregnant women for the entirety of the gestation period and up to six weeks after delivery; non-breastfeeding postpartum women for six months after pregnancy; breastfeeding women up to the infant's first birthday; infants from birth to their first birthday; and children ages one to five years.
Families interested in participating in the program are encouraged to contact the Vicenza WIC Overseas office to see if they may be eligible. An over-the-phone screening can take place and, if found eligible -- based on family size, income and other factors -- an individualized appointment for enrollment can be made.
For more information, visit https://www.tricare.mil/wic/. The Vicenza office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but closed for lunch from noon to 12:30 p.m.
The office is located in Building 169 on Caserma Ederle. Vicenza or Camp Darby personnel wanting to know more about WIC must call DSN 646-5670, comm. 0444-71-5670. The Livorno office is located in Building 504, Room 25, on Camp Darby.