Commissioner Fitzgerald Opens National WIC Conference in Atlanta

September 8, 2014

More than 1,200 Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition and breastfeeding professionals are meeting in Atlanta – the National WIC Association (NWA) today kicked off its annual conference in downtown Atlanta.

NWA is the non-profit education and advocacy arm of WIC at federal, state and local levels. Their mission is to inspire and empower the WIC community to advocate for and promote quality nutrition services for all eligible mothers and young children and assure effective management of WIC.

Georgia Department of Public Health Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., welcomed conference attendees to Atlanta during the opening session this morning at the Westin Hotel in downtown.

 “We all share the same vision of a nation of healthier women, infants, children, and families,” said Fitzgerald. “This conference is an opportunity to look for commonalities, to support each other and exchange information and ideas to confront the challenges we, and our clients, face every day.”

Commissioner Fitzgerald also delivered a presentation on DPH’s “Talk With Me Baby” campaign. The goal is to teach mothers how to talk to their babies through videos, books and signage. Talking to your baby leads to brain development and language skills which lead to healthier, more successful lives.  

NWA endorses the American Academy of Pediatrics' Policy Statement on breastfeeding which states, “Exclusive breastfeeding is the reference or normative model against which all alternative feeding methods must be measured with regard to growth, health, development, and all other short-and long-term outcomes.”

DPH and Georgia WIC also promote exclusive breastfeeding through at least the first six months of life, with the addition of appropriate complementary foods when the infant is developmentally ready, usually around six months of age.

“All WIC professionals have a role in promoting and providing support for the successful initiation and continuation of breastfeeding,” said Commissioner Fitzgerald. “Increasing breastfeeding rates in Georgia is critical to giving our precious infants and children a healthy start.”

Education sessions will cover current and emerging nutrition and breastfeeding science, research, policy and best practices. Of particular interest to many WIC professionals is the declining number of WIC participants nationwide. Poster Sessions and special forums will offer additional learning and networking opportunities. More than 40 exhibitors will provide the latest on WIC-related products, technology and services.

The NWA conference runs through Wednesday.

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