Chippewa Valley (WQOW) - Participation in the Women, Infants and Children program, or WIC, is down in Wisconsin according to the U.S. Food and Nutrition Service.
WIC offers supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education for low-income parents with children up to the age of five.
Data shows from 2015 to 2019, nearly 17 percent fewer Wisconsinites took part in the federal program.
WIC officials in Chippewa County said many factors go into the decline, but one of the biggest reasons is Wisconsin's population.
"The reasons are thought to be complex and multi-faceted, but one of the reasons we know is that our pool of applicants has been declining because the rate of birth in Wisconsin has been falling," said Judy Fedie, the WIC program director for Chippewa County. "And then, of course, there's been changes in the economy and that can always change the pool of applicants as well."
Fedie said another reason the numbers may be down is because of awareness. She said many parents are surprised to learn they qualify for WIC and the services it provides.
To learn if you may be eligible for WIC services, qualifications can be found on its website. Fathers with children under the age of five are also eligible, not just mothers.