Qualitative study reports increased fruit and vegetable consumption after a COVID-related increase to WIC Cash Value Benefit

Sep 13, 2022

A recent study on COVID-related changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Cash Value Benefit (CVB) for participants to purchase fruits and vegetables demonstrates a positive relationship between CVB amounts and nutritional security. The American Rescue Plan Act responded to economic impacts of the COVID-19 public health emergency by implementing a temporary increase to CVB. Researchers evaluated the impact of the additional benefits through telephone interviews with 30 Southern California WIC participants. Qualitative data from participant interviews reflected the following themes: ease of utilizing WIC benefits, satisfaction with CVB increase, and the CVB increase enabling purchase of greater amounts and variety of fruits and vegetables. Findings suggest that increasing the WIC CVB enables purchase of more fruits and vegetables and less reliance on processed foods. The study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. It was conducted by researchers Catherine Martinez, Christopher Anderson and Shannon Whaley from Public Health Foundation Enterprises (PHFE)-WIC, and Lorrene Ritchie, Danielle Lee and Marisa Tsai from the Nutrition Policy Institute, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It was funded by David and Lucile Packard Foundation, grant number 2020-70267 and Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Round 12, grant number 77239.

By Katherine Lanca
Author - Graduate Student
By Danielle Lee
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of Research