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1.  Referrals of participants in an urban WIC program to health and welfare services. 
Public Health Reports  1992;107(2):173-178.
The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental food, nutrition education, and referrals to available health and welfare services. Recipients are income-eligible pregnant and postpartum women, their infants, and their children who are younger than 5 years of age. Although studies have documented the nutritional benefits of the program, the extent to which WIC nutritionists help eligible women to obtain available health and welfare services, and the degree to which this referral activity promotes health, is largely unknown. The researchers examined the referral activity at one urban WIC clinic, but did not evaluate the outcomes. Of 1,850 persons seen, there were 762 referrals by WIC nutritionists for 597 persons at the Lawrence, MA, clinic during a 2-month period. Of the 597 persons, 494 (83 percent) were WIC participants and 103 (17 percent) were nonparticipants. The rate of referrals for WIC participants was 27 percent. Multiple referrals were common, with 127 people receiving more than one referral. WIC nutritionists at this site offered a variety of referrals to their clients. The majority of referrals (61.7 percent) were for supplemented food. Nonnutrition-related referrals were to medical and dental services (20.5 percent), developmental and educational services (12.5 percent), and social services (5.4 percent). Nonnutrition-related referrals for women included referrals for family planning, substance abuse, job training, teenaged parenting, and high school equivalency programs. Infants and children were referred for dental care, growth failure, the Head Start Program, kindergarten enrollment, early intervention, and protective services.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
PMCID: PMC1403627  PMID: 1561299
2.  Factors influencing early prenatal enrollment in the WIC program. 
Public Health Reports  1989;104(3):301-306.
Women's access to prenatal nutrition services was explored using a nationally representative sample of pregnant participants in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in 1984. The probability was examined of the participant entering the program during her first trimester, rather than the second or third trimester. Other research has suggested that length of participation in the program during pregnancy is associated with increased birth weight. The data were adjusted for various personal and local operational factors, such as prior WIC participation, race, age, income, household size, WIC priority level, availability of prenatal or other health services, targeted outreach policies, years of local operation, and local agency size. Previous participation in the WIC Program was the only factor significantly associated with early enrollment (adjusted odds ratio 2.1). Race was marginally significant. Neither the presence of local policies of outreach targeted to pregnant women, nor co-location of WIC services with prenatal or other health services, showed significant effects on early enrollment.
PMCID: PMC1579914  PMID: 2498982
3.  Insights in Public Health 
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a proven, cost-effective investment in strengthening families. As part of the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 15 federal nutrition assistance programs for the past 40 years, WIC has grown to be the nation's leading public health nutrition program. WIC serves as an important first access point to health care and social service systems for many limited resource families, serving approximately half the births in the nation as well as locally. By providing nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and foods in addition to referrals, WIC plays a crucial role in promoting lifetime health for women, infants and children. WIC helps achieve national public health goals such as reducing premature births and infant mortality, increasing breastfeeding, and reducing maternal and childhood overweight. Though individuals and families can self-refer into WIC, physicians and allied health professionals have the opportunity and are encouraged to promote awareness of WIC and refer families in their care.
PMCID: PMC4174695  PMID: 25285258
4.  Effects of Reduced Juice Allowances in Food Packages for the Women, Infants, and Children Program 
Pediatrics  2013;131(5):919-927.
In 2009, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) implemented revisions to the composition and quantities of WIC food packages. Juice allowances were reduced by approximately half. This report describes changes in purchases of 100% juice and other beverages among WIC participants after the WIC revisions.
Scanner data from a New England supermarket chain were used to assess juice and other beverage purchases among 2137 WIC-participating households during a 2-year period (N = 36 051 household-months). Purchased beverage amounts were compared before (January–September 2009) and after (January–September 2010) implementation of the revised WIC packages. Generalized estimating equation models were used.
Before the revisions, WIC juice accounted for two-thirds of purchased juice volume among WIC households. After implementation of the revisions, WIC juice purchases were reduced on par with allowance changes (43.5% of juice volume, 95% confidence interval [CI] 41.9%–45.1%). This reduction was only partly compensated for by an increase of 13.6% (8.4%–19.0%) in juice purchases using personal and other non-WIC funds. In total, juice purchases declined by 23.5% (21.4%–25.4%) from an adjusted monthly total of 238 oz to 182 oz per household. WIC households increased purchases of fruit drinks by 20.9% (14.9%–27.3%) and other noncarbonated beverages by 21.3% (12.1%–31.2%) but purchased 12.1% (8.1%–15.0%) less soft drinks.
After the WIC revisions, total purchases of 100% juice among WIC households declined by about a quarter, with little compensation occurring from non-WIC funds for juice and other beverages. The public health impact of the shift in beverage purchase patterns could be significant.
PMCID: PMC4074658  PMID: 23629613
food assistance; WIC; juice; food policy
5.  WIC program participation--a marketing approach. 
Public Health Reports  1991;106(5):547-556.
Recent evaluation studies have described the benefits accruing to low-income women and children who participate in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). However, participation is not uniform among all groups of eligible persons. This study examines the geographic variation in WIC participation rates of eligible pregnant women in Rhode Island to determine whether the program is effective in reaching the neediest segments of the population. Eight groups of small geographic areas in Rhode Island (census tracts) were formed on the basis of need for maternal and child health services, as determined from a statistical method employing factor and cluster analysis of existing health and sociodemographic data. Among these eight groups, participation rates in WIC during 1983-84 ranged from 46 percent to more than 100 percent of estimated eligible pregnant women. The rates were positively correlated with measures of need, strongly (r = 0.92) with an index of maternal risk, and less strongly (r = 0.79) with an index of birth outcomes. The results of this study have enabled the Rhode Island WIC Program to direct its outreach efforts more specifically to geographic areas where the need for the program's assistance is greatest. The procedures described in this report comprise a technique that can be generally applied to measure program effectiveness in marketing and outreach where relevant data are available by small geographic areas. The data requirements are (a) population-based estimates of program need and (b) program utilization measures. If these data can be aggregated to a common set of small geographic areas, the use of marketing analysis techniques becomes possible, and program benefits in the area of outreach and recruitment can be realized.
PMCID: PMC1580300  PMID: 1910189
6.  WIC in Your Neighborhood: New Evidence on the Impacts of Geographic Access to Clinics 
Journal of public economics  2013;102:51-69.
A large body of evidence indicates that conditions in-utero and health at birth matter for individuals’ long-run outcomes, suggesting potential value in programs aimed at pregnant women and young children. This paper uses a novel identification strategy and data from birth and administrative records over 2005–2009 to provide causal estimates of the effects of geographic access to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). My empirical approach uses within-ZIP-code variation in WIC clinic presence together with maternal fixed effects, and accounts for the potential endogeneity of mobility, gestational-age bias, and measurement error in gestation. I find that access to WIC increases food benefit take-up, pregnancy weight gain, birth weight, and the probability of breastfeeding initiation at the time of hospital discharge. The estimated effects are strongest for mothers with a high school education or less, who are most likely eligible for WIC services.
PMCID: PMC3772681  PMID: 24043906
WIC; health at birth; pregnancy; public programs; low-income women and children
7.  Prenatal participation in WIC related to Medicaid costs for Missouri newborns: 1982 update. 
Public Health Reports  1986;101(6):607-615.
This study replicates a 1980 evaluation of WIC prenatal participation in Missouri by using a file of 9,086 Missouri Medicaid records matched with the corresponding birth records. This file was divided into a WIC group containing 3,261 records and a non-WIC group of 5,825 records. The 1982 results generally confirm the 1980 results, with the 1982 findings showing slightly improved pregnancy outcomes for WIC participants and slightly reduced benefit-to-cost ratios compared with the 1980 findings. In 1982, WIC participation was found to be associated with an increase in mean birth weight of 31 grams and reductions in low birth weight rates (statistically significant) and in neonatal death rates (not statistically significant). The reduction in each rate was 23 percent. WIC participation was also associated with a reduction in Medicaid costs for newborns reported within 45 days of birth amounting to $76 per participant. For every dollar spent on WIC, about 49 cents in Medicaid costs were apparently saved. However, wide 95 percent confidence intervals ($.07, $.90) make it difficult to determine precisely what impact WIC has on Federal and State budget outlays.
PMCID: PMC1477679  PMID: 3097741
8.  Increasing Access to Farmers Markets for Beneficiaries of Nutrition Assistance: Evaluation of the Farmers Market Access Project 
Increased acceptance of nutrition benefits at farmers markets could improve access to nutritious foods for low-income shoppers. The objective of this study was to evaluate a pilot project to increase participation by farmers markets and their vendors in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
The intervention targeted 9 markets in lower-income regions of King County, Washington. Markets and vendors were offered subsidized electronic benefits transfer (EBT) terminals for processing SNAP, and vendors could apply to accept WIC cash value vouchers. WIC staff received information on using SNAP and vouchers at farmers markets. We used mixed methods post-implementation to measure participation, describe factors in acceptance of benefits, and assess information needs for WIC staff to conduct effective outreach.
Of approximately 88 WIC-eligible vendors, 38 agreed to accept vouchers. Ten of 125 vendors installed an EBT terminal, and 6 markets installed a central market terminal. The number of market stalls accepting SNAP increased from 80 to 143, an increase of 79%. Participating vendors wanted to provide access to SNAP and WIC shoppers, although redemption rates were low. Some WIC staff members were unfamiliar with markets, which hindered outreach.
Vendors and markets value low-income shoppers and, when offered support, will take on some inconvenience to serve them. To improve participation and sustainability, we recommend ongoing subsidies and streamlined procedures better suited to meet markets’ capabilities. Low EBT redemption rates at farmers markets suggest a need for more outreach to low-income shoppers and relationship building with WIC staff.
PMCID: PMC3804120  PMID: 24135392
9.  Evaluating the Initial Impact of the Revised Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food Packages on Dietary Intake and Home Food Availability in African American and Hispanic Families 
Public health nutrition  2013;17(1):83-93.
The present study assessed the impact of the 2009 food packages mandated by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on dietary intake and home food availability in low-income African American and Hispanic parent/child dyads.
A natural experiment was conducted to assess if the revised WIC food package altered dietary intake, home food availability, weight, and various lifestyle measures immediately (6 months) following policy implementation.
12 WIC clinics in Chicago, USA.
273, 2–3 year old Hispanic and African American children enrolled in WIC and their mothers
Six months after the WIC food package revisions were implemented, we observed modest changes in dietary intake. Fruit consumption increased among Hispanic mothers (mean=0.33 servings/d, p=.04), and low-fat dairy intake increased among Hispanic mothers (0.21 servings/d, p=.02), Hispanic children (0.34 servings/d, p<.001), and African American children (0.24 servings/d, p=.02). Home food availability of low fat dairy and whole grains also increased. Dietary changes, however, varied by racial/ethnic group. Changes in home food availability were not significantly correlated with changes in diet.
The WIC food package revisions are one of the first efforts to modify the nutrition guidelines that govern foods provided in a federal food and nutrition assistance program. It will be important to examine the longer term impact of these changes on dietary intake and weight status.
PMCID: PMC3858404  PMID: 23544992
dietary behaviors; minority groups; food assistance; nutrition policy; obesity
10.  Factors associated with rates of participation in WIC by eligible pregnant women. 
Public Health Reports  1992;107(1):60-65.
The relationship between sociodemographic, biological, and prenatal care characteristics, and participation rates of pregnant women in the Special Supplemental Food Program For Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) was studied by interviewing 200 postpartum patients in a Buffalo, NY, hospital between October 1988 and January 1989. Among the 136 women eligible for the program, 94 (69 percent) participated during their index pregnancies. WIC participation was found to be highly associated with source of prenatal care and having made more frequent prenatal visits. WIC was related to having fewer children and earlier initiation of prenatal care. Multivariate analysis showed that program participation remained highly associated with the source of prenatal care and the number of prenatal visits, when combined with other factors considered, such as age, education, marital status, number of living children, and timing of initial prenatal visit. The results suggest the need for a WIC enrollment effort directed to providers of prenatal care, who would be urged to encourage women to seek early and adequate prenatal care through the program.
PMCID: PMC1403602  PMID: 1738810
11.  Weighing costs and benefits of adequate prenatal care for 12,023 births in Missouri's Medicaid program, 1988. 
Public Health Reports  1992;107(6):647-652.
Numerous studies have shown that the receipt of adequate prenatal care is associated with improvements in pregnancy outcome, particularly a reduction in the risk of low birth weight. Since medical costs for these low birth weight infants are several times higher than for normal birth weight infants, one would expect that medical costs for newborns would be lower for babies whose mothers have had adequate prenatal care than for those with inadequate prenatal care. Explored in this paper is whether the reduction in Medicaid costs for newborn and post-partum maternal care is greater than the increase in prenatal costs for a Medicaid population. The analysis used a file of 12,023 Missouri Medicaid records linked with the corresponding 1988 birth certificates. A modified version of the Kessner index was used to define the adequacy of prenatal care. Prenatal care costs were $233 higher for pregnancies with adequate prenatal care than for those in which prenatal care was inadequate. Newborn and post-partum costs starting within 60 days after the birth were $347 lower for the adequate prenatal care pregnancies, resulting in a savings of $1.49 for each extra $1 spent on prenatal care. Among the other factors studied in determining this benefit to cost ratio were global billing, Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and participation in Medicaid under the expanded eligibility provisions that were effective in Missouri in 1988.
PMCID: PMC1403715  PMID: 1454976
12.  Using linked program and birth records to evaluate coverage and targeting in Tennessee's WIC program. 
Public Health Reports  1991;106(2):176-181.
Public health nutrition programs are intended to serve low-income families who are at greater nutritional risk than the general population. Not all persons who are program-eligible are at equal risk, however. It would be desirable to evaluate a program's ability to enroll persons from higher risk backgrounds in the population (coverage) and, conversely, the extent to which those enrolled in this program are at higher risk (targeting). A method for the evaluation of coverage and targeting was developed using data from the Tennessee Women, Infants, and Children Special Supplemental Food Program (WIC) linked with birth certificates. The linked computer file was created by matching the name and date of birth in both record files. The birth records were the common source of information used to characterize the risk background for both the WIC and non-WIC participants. Maternal sociodemographic information on the birth records was used to define the health risk background of each child. The coverage and targeting of "at-risk" children were computed and compared for 50 counties or county-aggregates in Tennessee. Considerable variation in the coverage and targeting rates of at-risk children was observed among Tennessee counties, although the counties within each WIC administrative region tended to have similar coverage and targeting patterns. Using the existing data in linked program and vital records provides a direct evaluation of a program. Coverage and targeting evaluation can be used to detect underserved populations within small geographic areas.
PMCID: PMC1580230  PMID: 1902310
13.  A community based prevention of weight gain intervention (Mothers In Motion) among young low-income overweight and obese mothers: design and rationale 
BMC Public Health  2014;14:280.
Over 45% of American women 20–39 years old are at risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health conditions because they are overweight or obese. The prevalence of overweight and obesity is disproportionately high among low-income women. This paper describes the study design and rationale of a community based intervention (Mothers In Motion, MIM) aimed to prevent weight gain among low-income overweight and obese mothers18-39 years old by promoting stress management, healthy eating, and physical activity.
Peer recruiters approach participants from 5 Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in Michigan. The MIM delivers theory-based, culturally-sensitive intervention messages via a combination of DVDs and peer support group teleconferences (PSGTs). The DVD features African American and white overweight and obese WIC mothers who participated in a healthy lifestyle intervention patterned after MIM. The PSGTs are led by paraprofessionals from Michigan State University Extension and WIC providers in Michigan who are trained in motivational interviewing and group facilitation skills. Participants are randomly assigned to an intervention (n = 350) or comparison group (n = 175). The intervention group receives a 16-week intervention on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Participants are asked to watch 10 MIM DVD chapters at home and join 10 PSGT sessions by phone. The comparison group receives printed educational materials. The primary outcome is body weight. Secondary outcomes include dietary fat, fruit, and vegetable intake; physical activity; stress, and affect. Mediators are self-efficacy, emotional coping response, social support, and autonomous motivation. Telephone interviews and in-person data collection at WIC offices occur at 3 time points: baseline, immediately, and 3 months after the 16-week intervention.
If MIM shows effectiveness, it could have a favorable impact on public health and community programs. The DVDs and PSGTs will be disseminated in WIC, Extension, clinical practice that promote healthy lifestyles for similar target audiences to make a broad contribution to the prevention of weight gain in low-income mothers. Also, our methodology can be adapted by researchers and community stakeholders to help other low-income populations prevent weight gain.
Trial registration
Clinical Trials Number: NCT01839708.
PMCID: PMC3987655  PMID: 24666633
Obesity prevention; Stress management; Healthy eating; Physical activity; Low-income women
14.  Assessing the Validity and Reliability of Three Indicators Self-Reported on the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System Survey 
Public Health Reports  2013;128(6):527-536.
We investigated the reliability and validity of three self-reported indicators from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) survey.
We used 2008 PRAMS (n=15,646) data from 12 states that had implemented the 2003 revised U.S. Certificate of Live Birth. We estimated reliability by kappa coefficient and validity by sensitivity and specificity using the birth certificate data as the reference for the following: prenatal participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); Medicaid payment for delivery; and breastfeeding initiation. These indicators were examined across several demographic subgroups.
The reliability was high for all three measures: 0.81 for WIC participation, 0.67 for Medicaid payment of delivery, and 0.72 for breastfeeding initiation. The validity of PRAMS indicators was also high: WIC participation (sensitivity = 90.8%, specificity = 90.6%), Medicaid payment for delivery (sensitivity = 82.4%, specificity = 85.6%), and breastfeeding initiation (sensitivity = 94.3%, specificity = 76.0%). The prevalence estimates were higher on PRAMS than the birth certificate for each of the indicators except Medicaid-paid delivery among non-Hispanic black women. Kappa values within most subgroups remained in the moderate range (0.40–0.80). Sensitivity and specificity values were lower for Hispanic women who responded to the PRAMS survey in Spanish and for breastfeeding initiation among women who delivered very low birthweight and very preterm infants.
The validity and reliability of the PRAMS data for measures assessed were high. Our findings support the use of PRAMS data for epidemiological surveillance, research, and planning.
PMCID: PMC3804096  PMID: 24179264
15.  The impact of the April 1992 civil unrest on the Los Angeles REI WIC program and its participants. 
Public Health Reports  1994;109(5):606-614.
This paper discusses the findings of a study conducted in south central Los Angeles in August 1992 among women in the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children. The goals of the study were to determine the current demographics of WIC participants; examine the financial hardship, need for relief services, and extent of hunger resulting from the civil unrest of April 1992; look at the effects of the unrest on different ethnic groups; determine the unmet need for WIC services; and evaluate the State and local WIC responses to the unrest. The 1,189 respondents were approximately 77 percent Latina, 20 percent African American, and 3 percent white. Half or more were recent immigrants, 19 percent were pregnant and parenting adolescents, 74 percent were school dropouts, and 56 percent were single mothers. Only 1 percent had any problems using WIC vouchers after the unrest, although more than half of their grocery stores had closed. Thirty-five percent experienced food deficits in their households, and 33 percent of those who applied for emergency food stamps had trouble getting them. Four percent said their children had gone to bed hungry in the last week, and 9 percent said they, the respondents, had as well. Only 2 percent needed shelter, and 1 percent became homeless, but 6 percent had family members who lost jobs due to the unrest. This study suggests that the chronically substandard conditions under which many families in south central Los Angeles live affect them more profoundly than did the dramatic consequences of the civil unrest.
PMCID: PMC1403547  PMID: 7938380
16.  Validity of child anthropometric measurements in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children 
Pediatric Research  2012;71(3):286-292.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) serves 50% of infants and 25% of preschool-aged children in the U.S. and collects height and weight measurements from eligible children every six months, making WIC data a valuable resource for studying childhood growth and obesity. We assessed the accuracy of measurements collected by WIC staff by comparing them to “gold standard” measurements collected by trained research staff. At seven WIC clinics in southern California, 287 children ages 2–5 years measured by WIC staff using WIC standard protocol were re-measured by research staff using a research protocol (duplicate measurements with shoes and outerwear removed taken by trained personnel). Intraclass correlation coefficients measuring agreement between WIC and research protocol measurements for height, weight and body mass index (BMI) were 0.96, 0.99 and 0.93, respectively. Although WIC measurements overestimated height by 0.6 cm and weight by 0.05 kg on average, BMI was underestimated by only 0.15 kg/m2 on average. WIC BMI percentiles classified children as overweight/obese versus underweight/normal with 86% sensitivity and 92% specificity. We conclude that height, weight and BMI measurements of children aged 2–5 years collected by trained WIC staff are sufficiently accurate for monitoring and research purposes.
PMCID: PMC3282987  PMID: 22337260
17.  Comparing Farmers’ Market Revenue Trends Before and After the Implementation of a Monetary Incentive for Recipients of Food Assistance 
We examined the influence of an intervention to increase fruit and vegetable purchases at farmers’ markets for recipients of food assistance, Shop N Save (SNS), on revenue trends at a farmers’ market located at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in rural South Carolina. We compared revenue trends for 20 weeks before the intervention (2011) and 20 weeks after (2012).
SNS provided one $5 monetary incentive per week to customers spending $5 or more in food assistance at the farmers’ market. SNS was available to any farmers’ market customer using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and/or Senior or WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers. Sales receipts were recorded for each transaction at the farmers’ market to document payment type and the cost of the purchase. All SNS participants completed a one-time enrollment survey.
A total of 336 customers self-enrolled in SNS from June through October 2012. Most SNS participants were female, African American, and patients at the FQHC. In total, the use of all forms of food assistance (SNAP, WIC, and FMNP) at the farmers’ market increased significantly after the intervention (from 10% before, to 25% after, P = .003). Senior FMNP vouchers and SNAP usage increased the most.
Interventions that provide incentives to recipients of food assistance programs at farmers’ markets are a viable strategy for increasing food assistance usage and revenue.
PMCID: PMC4032058  PMID: 24854238
18.  Feasibility of Increasing Childhood Outdoor Play and Decreasing Television Viewing Through a Family-Based Intervention in WIC, New York State, 2007-2008 
Preventing Chronic Disease  2011;8(3):A54.
Active Families is a program developed to increase outdoor play and decrease television viewing among preschool-aged children enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Our objective was to assess its feasibility and efficacy.
We implemented Active Families in a large WIC clinic in New York State for 1 year. To this end, we incorporated into WIC nutrition counseling sessions a community resource guide with maps showing recreational venues. Outcome measures were children's television viewing and time playing outdoors and parents' behaviors (television viewing, physical activity), self-efficacy to influence children's behaviors, and parenting practices specific to television viewing. We used a nonpaired pretest and posttest design to evaluate the intervention, drawing on comparison data from 3 matched WIC agencies.
Compared with the children at baseline, the children at follow-up were more likely to watch television less than 2 hours per day and play outdoors for at least 60 minutes per day. Additionally, parents reported higher self-efficacy to limit children's television viewing and were more likely to meet physical activity recommendations and watch television less than 2 hours per day.
Results suggest that it is feasible to foster increased outdoor play and reduced television viewing among WIC-enrolled children by incorporating a community resource guide into WIC nutrition counseling sessions. Future research should test the intervention with a stronger evaluation design in multiple settings, with more diverse WIC populations, and by using more objective outcome measures of child behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3103559  PMID: 21477494
19.  Use of Food Labels, Awareness of Nutritional Programs and Participation in the Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC): Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2005-6) 
Maternal & child nutrition  2011;9(3):299-308.
Use of nutritional labels in choosing food is associated with healthier eating habits including lower fat intake. Current public health efforts have focused on the revamping of nutritional labels to make them easier to read and use for the consumer.
To assess the frequency of use of nutritional labels and awareness of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutritional programs by women eligible and participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) as surveyed in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-6 .
Many low-income women do not regularly use the nutrition facts panel information on the food label and less than half had heard of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Dietary Guidelines for Americans (38.9%). In multivariate logistic regression, we found that WIC participation was associated with reduced use of the nutrition facts panel in choosing food products (OR 0.45, 95%CI 0.22-0.91), the health claims information (OR 0.54, 95%CI 0.32-0.28) and the information on carbohydrates when deciding to buy a product (OR 0.44, 95%CI 0.20-0.97) in comparison with WIC eligible non-participants.
Any intervention to improve use of nutritional labels and knowledge of the USDA’s nutritional programs needs to target low-income women, including WIC participants. Future studies should evaluate possible reasons for the low use of nutrition labels among WIC participants.
PMCID: PMC4008321  PMID: 22171961
20.  Progress on key issues in maternal nutrition 
Public Health Reports  1987;102(4 Suppl):50-52.
Great progress on key issues in maternal nutrition has been made in the past few years, mainly because of the legislative requirements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC Program). These advances are most timely because of the general recognition that, in this period of finite resources, we will need to make optimal use of resources such as the food package, nutrition education, and health services that together make up the WIC Program benefits. Major progress has been made in the following critical areas: (a) agreement on nutritional risk criteria; (b) identification of dietary risk factors; (c) increased availability of a variety of computer-assisted techniques for collecting, managing, and analyzing dietary intakes on large numbers of patients; and (d) recognition of the need for and availability of a variety of alternative dietary standards in the provision of overall services to pregnant women.
Of even greater importance is the recognition that we can no longer treat nutrition as a single variable, independent of the many other forces that together influence the course and outcome of a pregnancy. Rather, we recognize that there is a seamless web of influences, all of which need to be taken into account in attempts to provide for the needs of pregnant women at risk of poor pregnancy outcomes.
The timely application of all of these advances will greatly facilitate a more efficient and effective use of resources such as are provided by the WIC Program. They will also provide both the patients and their health care providers with more realistic expectations of what might be accomplished towards improving the outcomes of pregnancies at nutritional risk.
PMCID: PMC1478053  PMID: 16156081
21.  The Effect of the WIC Program on the Health of Newborns 
Health Services Research  2010;45(4):1083-1104.
To determine the effect of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on birth outcomes.
Data Source
The Child Development Supplement (CDS) of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). The PSID provides extensive data on the income and well-being of a representative sample of U.S. families from 1968 to present. The CDS collects information on the children in PSID families ranging from cognitive, behavioral, and health status to their family and neighborhood environment. The first two waves of the CDS were conducted in 1997 and 2002, respectively. We use information on 3,181 children and their mothers.
Study Design
We use propensity score matching with multiple imputations to examine whether WIC program influences birth outcomes: birth weight, prematurity, maternal report of the infant's health, small for gestational age, and placement in the neonatal intensive care unit. Furthermore, we use a fixed-effects model to examine the above outcomes controlling for mother-specific unobservables.
Principal Findings
After using propensity scores to adjust for confounding factors, WIC shows no statistically significant effects for any of six outcomes. Fixed-effects models, however, reveal some effects that are statistically significant and fairly substantial in size. These involve preterm birth and birth weight.
Overall, the WIC program had moderate effects, but findings were sensitive to the estimation method used.
PMCID: PMC2910570  PMID: 20459450
WIC; birth outcomes; propensity score; multiple imputations; fixed-effects model
22.  A proposal for detecting and managing gestational diabetes by coordinating existing services. 
Public Health Reports  1986;101(1):94-97.
A significant improvement in the quality of births by low-income women can be achieved by implementing a low-cost screening procedure and by coordinating private and public sector services that these women may already be receiving. This proposal outlines a screening program for gestational diabetes, coupled with multidisciplinary team management of this disorder through cooperative efforts of private sector medical practitioners and the public sector nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The investment in this proposal is catalytic: the long-term intent is to persuade those in the medical community in the targeted geographic area to adopt the screening procedure and coordination with the WIC Program as a standard part of their prenatal care. If this proposed program is successful, it could be replicated in other parts of the country.
PMCID: PMC1477655  PMID: 3080799
23.  Psychiatric Disorders and Treatment in Low-Income Pregnant Women 
Journal of Women's Health  2010;19(7):1251-1262.
This study estimated the prevalence of twenty-two 12-month and lifetime psychiatric disorders in a sample of 744 low-income pregnant women and the frequency that women with psychiatric disorders received treatment.
To identify psychiatric disorders, the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS) was administered to Medicaid or Medicaid-eligible pregnant women enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The sample was stratified by the rural or urban location of the WIC sites in southeastern Missouri and the city of St. Louis. Eligible women were enrolled at each site until their numbers were proportional to the racial distribution of African American and Caucasian pregnant women served there.
The 12-month prevalence of one or more psychiatric disorders was 30.9%. Most common were affective disorders (13.6%), particularly major depressive disorder (8.2%) and bipolar I disorder (5.2%). Only 24.3% of those with a psychiatric disorder reported that they received treatment in the past year. Lifetime prevalence of at least one disorder was 45.6%, with affective disorders being the most frequent (23.5%). Caucasian women were more likely than African Americans to have at least one 12-month disorder, with the difference largely accounted for by nicotine dependence. Higher prevalence of lifetime disorders was also found in Caucasian women, particularly affective disorders and substance use disorders. There were no differences in the prevalence of 12-month or lifetime psychiatric disorders by the urban or rural residence of subjects.
With nearly one third of pregnant women meeting criteria for a 12-month psychiatric disorder and only one fourth receiving any type of mental health treatment, comprehensive psychiatric screening during pregnancy is needed along with appropriate treatment.
PMCID: PMC2940455  PMID: 20524895
24.  Validation of maternally reported birth weights among 46,637 Tennessee WIC program participants. 
Public Health Reports  1988;103(2):143-147.
To assess the accuracy of maternally reported birth weights, we compared birth weights reported by mothers in the Tennessee Women, Infants, and Children Supplemental Feeding Program (WIC) from 1975 to 1984 with the birth weights recorded on the corresponding Tennessee birth certificate file. Differences in birth weights between these two sources were compared for the total group and were also stratified by sociodemographic and medical variables that might influence the accuracy of birth weight recall. An accurate birth weight was defined as one reported within 1 ounce of the birth certificate birth weight. We also calculated the proportion of birth weights that would be incorrectly classified as low or normal by maternal reporting. A total of 72,245 WIC records were matched with their corresponding birth certificates. Of these, 46,637 had WIC birth weights recorded within the specified birth weight range. Eighty-nine percent of birth weights were reported within 1 ounce of birth certificate birth weights. Lower accuracy of birth weight reporting was associated with the infant's low birth weight, preterm delivery, and low Apgar scores, and with the mother's grand multiparity, less than a high school education, black race, single marital status, and young age. Only 1.1 percent of birth weights would have been incorrectly classified into low or normal birth weight categories based on maternal reporting. Overall, our results suggest that maternally reported birth weights are sufficiently accurate for research and programmatic purposes when birth certificate information is not readily available.
PMCID: PMC1477960  PMID: 3128829
25.  Birth weight and subsequent growth among Navajo children. 
Public Health Reports  1987;102(5):500-507.
An examination of length, weight, and birth weight data routinely collected from the clinics supported by the Navajo Nation Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) showed an association between birth weight and subsequent growth status. Navajo children less than 2 years of age entering the WIC Program were divided into low, normal, and high birth weight groups, and their growth patterns were plotted when they returned periodically for reassessment. Overall, the children tended to have low length-for-age and high weight-for-length measures, relative to the reference population, that suggest suboptimal nutritional status. Children with birth weights less than 2,500 grams (g) were consistently shorter, lighter, and thinner than children with birth weights greater than 2,500 g. Although the overall growth status of the children improved between 1975 and 1980, the growth among the children with low birth weights never fully caught up with that of the other Navajo children. Moreover, during that period, the normal birth weight group had a modest improvement in length-for-age relative to the reference population, but the low birth weight group did not. These findings suggest that prenatal interventions to improve the birth weight status of Navajo infants may result in improving the growth status of Navajo children.
PMCID: PMC1477895  PMID: 3116580

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