Disparities exist between racial/ethnic groups in impact of WIC participation on children’s sugar-sweetened beverage intake as found in new study

Mar 2, 2022

Despite a recent study suggesting that children drink fewer sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) the longer they participate in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), new findings from a study conducted with a large sample of WIC-participating families in Los Angeles county suggest this is not true for all racial/ethnic groups. While longer WIC participation can mitigate disparities in sugar-sweetened beverage intake between children from white and Hispanic families, Black children from families reporting 5 and 10 years of participation in WIC consumed 33 and 45% more daily servings of fruit-flavored SSBs than those from families reporting 1 year on WIC. The study also suggests that WIC participation may not support increased drinking water intake among participating children. These new and unexpected findings were published in February 2022 in Nutrients by lead author Christopher Anderson from Public Health Foundation Enterprises WIC (PHFE-WIC) in collaboration with Catherine Martinez and Shannon Whaley from PHFE-WIC, Lorrene Ritchie from the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute, and Keelia O'Malley from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. The research was supported by First 5 Los Angeles.

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Policy Analyst
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist