NPI research brief elevates voices of WIC participants to inform revisions of WIC food packages

Feb 17, 2023

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages provide a specific set of foods to meet nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum individuals, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. The USDA's proposed revisions include increasing the value of WIC's fruit and vegetable benefit, flexibility in food package sizes, and closer alignment with the current Dietary Guidelines of America, 2020-2025. A new research brief highlights WIC participants' preferences for recommended changes to the WIC food package. Among nearly 8,000 WIC participants from 12 States that responded to an open-ended survey question in 2021 about their experiences with WIC, there was a common desire for greater flexibility and personalization of the WIC food packages. Participants expressed an interest in purchasing more fruits and vegetables and highlighted inadequacy of the current CVB amount to meet their dietary preferences and needs. The research offers WIC participants' input to develop WIC food packages that improve participants' health outcomes, and addresses inequitable access to nutritious foods. The USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, invites public comment on WIC food package revisions on the Federal Register by February 21, 2023. The research brief was developed by Gabby Underwood and Loan Kim of Pepperdine University, Danielle Lee and Lorrene Ritchie of the Nutrition Policy Institute, and Christina Chauvenet of the National WIC Association.

By Katherine Lanca
Author - Graduate Student
By Danielle L. Lee
Editor - Director of Communications & Research Engagement
By Lorrene Ritchie
Editor - Director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and Cooperative Extension Nutrition Specialist