New policy brief shows that participation in WIC is linked to higher diet quality in children

Jun 3, 2021

More than half of infants in the US participate in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. WIC provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk. In a recent study, researchers examined the association between the duration of WIC participation and the diet quality of 24-month-old children. They found that children who received WIC benefits during most of the first two years of life had better diet quality at age 24 months than children who, despite remaining eligible for benefits, discontinued WIC during infancy. These findings suggest nutritional benefits for eligible children who stay in the program longer and highlight the importance of helping them to do so. The study results have been compiled into a policy brief by the University of California (UC), Davis Center for Poverty & Inequality Research, and are available online. The research was conducted by Nancy Weinfield of the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute, Christine Borger of Westat, Lauren Au of UC Davis Department of Nutrition, Shannon Whaley of Public Health Foundation Enterprises WIC, Danielle Berman of the US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, and Lorrene Ritchie of the Nutrition Policy Institute within the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

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