The federal Special Supplemental Nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, aims to safeguard the health of over 6 million low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 in the United States by providing nutritious foods, information on healthy eating, and referrals for additional services. Nutrition education is an essential feature of WIC, making it unique compared to other federal nutrition programs. Researchers evaluated differences in WIC participants' perceptions and satisfaction with WIC nutrition education and services by race, ethnicity, and language preference in a sample of nearly 3000 California WIC participants surveyed in 2019. Spanish-speaking Hispanic participants reported the highest levels of satisfaction with WIC nutrition education compared to other groups. Hispanic participants were also more likely to change their behaviors after receiving WIC nutrition education compared to non-Hispanic White and Black participants. Participants prefer to receive WIC nutrition education through a variety of methods including in-person one-on-one, video/DVD, online, group sessions, and two-way text messaging. Across all groups, participants reported that the fruits and vegetables they receive in the child WIC food package was the top reason for continuing to participate in WIC. These findings can inform efforts to improve WIC participant retention. The study was published in the journal Nutrients. Study contributors include Alana Chaney and Lauren Au from UC Davis, Lorrene Ritchie and Marisa Tsai from the UC Nutrition Policy Institute, Shannon Whaley, Catherine Yepez, and Martha Meza from Public Health Foundation Enterprises-WIC, a program of Heluna Health, Hallie Randel-Schreiber from the San Francisco Department of Public Health, and Susan Sabatier and Adrian Young from the California Department of Public Health, WIC Division. The research was funded by The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the California Department of Public Health WIC Division.
Author - Policy Analyst
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist