USDA releases new report co-authored by NPI researchers showing that consistent 4-year participation in WIC is associated with better diet quality among low-income children

Sep 14, 2020

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2 (ITFPS-2) captures data on caregivers and their children over the first 6 years of the child's life after WIC enrollment to address a series of research questions regarding feeding practices, associations between WIC services and those practices, and the health and nutrition outcomes of children receiving WIC. The study, also known as the 'Feeding My Baby' study, previously produced four reports, the Intentions to Breastfeed ReportInfant Year Report, Second Year Report, and Third Year Report. The latest Fourth Year Report, which focuses on findings from children's fourth year of life, shows that consistent 4-year participation in WIC is associated with a higher quality diet among 4-year-old children. It also finds that caregivers who participate in WIC until their child is 4 years old truly value the education and support they receive through the program. In fact, the top reported reasons for continued participation are the education received from WIC (94 percent), the WIC food package (93 percent), and the perception that WIC personnel listen when participants talk about their child's health (91 percent). Findings from this new report also demonstrate how WIC nutrition education improves families' eating behaviors. Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) director Lorrene Ritchie and NPI affiliated researcher Lauren Au from the University of California, Davis are co-authors of the new report. The study was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and conducted in collaboration with researchers from Westat including Christine Borger, Thea Zimmerman, Tracy Vericker, Jill DeMatteis, and Laurie May, as well as Shannon Whaley from Public Health Foundation Enterprise (PHFE) WIC and Linnea Sallack from Altarum Institute. The full Fourth Year Report, along with a brief summary of the study's findings, is available online.

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement