In 1972, the U.S. Congress legislated the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as a two-year pilot project, under the Department of Agriculture, linking health care and food assistance for pregnant women, nursing mothers, infants and children considered at health risk because of malnutrition and low income.
Following the two-year trial, in 1974, the WIC program (later renamed the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) officially began in Pineville, Kentucky. Nationally, in 1975, the program served approximately 344,000 at-risk women, infants and children up to the age of five with $83 million in funding. It was estimated in 1972 that the proportion of income-eligible women participating in WIC was 3%. That percentage rose to 40% by 1980 and to more than 50% in the 1990s. Source: WIC in Kentucky.