A new research brief from Nutrition Policy Institute and PHFE-WIC researchers shows that WIC participants prefer an increase in the WIC cash value benefit (CVB) to purchase fruits and vegetables. The CVB was increased in June 2021 from $9 per month per child enrolled in WIC to $35 per month for four months, then revised to $24 per month in October 2021. Findings were compiled from Community Advisory Board members of WIC participants in California who were part of a larger study of over 2,700 WIC participants in Los Angeles County. Advisory Board members reviewed results from this study, which surveyed study participants three times on the impact of the increase of the CVB and provided recommendations on study findings. Analysis of Advisory Board meetings showed that the increased CVB amounts introduced more fruit and vegetable variety and better quality into WIC participants' diets. Results also showed that increased CVB amounts helped families cope with price increases for all foods and helped offset other household expenses. Advisory board participants recommended the increased CVB be continued. The brief was developed by Catherine Yepez, Christopher Anderson, Martha Meza, and Shannon Whaley of PHFE-WIC, a program of Heluna Health, in collaboration with Lauren Au of the University of California, Davis, Department of Nutrition, and Marisa Tsai and Lorrene Ritchie of the Nutrition Policy Institute at the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Author - Policy Analyst
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist