Research led by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health examined the impact of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) on the risk of preterm birth and its associated costs in California.
The research team determined that prenatal WIC participation of almost 300,000 pregnant women living in low-income households in California resulted in the prevention of more than 7,500 preterm births and a total cost savings to society of about $349 million when considering the newborn’s entire life time. Every $1 spent on prenatal WIC leads to a mean savings of $2.48 in societal costs (i.e. medical costs and costs ensued from a loss of productivity and quality of life). Decreasing prenatal WIC enrollment by 10 percent would lead to 981 more preterm babies, adding about $45.3 million in societal costs. In contrast, a 10 percent increase in prenatal WIC enrollment would prevent 141 more babies from being born prematurely, resulting in additional cost savings of $6.5 million.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on May 17