WIC Boosts Children’s Diet Quality, Notes Year 5 Report

Children who consistently participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) through their 5th year of life have better overall diet quality, notes the latest research findings. Westat statisticians broke new ground in dietary analysis using complex methods recommended by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to estimate children’s usual dietary intake. Statisticians used dietary recall information from the WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2 (WIC ITFPS-2), a study run by Westat that is following a nationally representative cohort of children who were enrolled in WIC around the time of birth, to estimate children’s dietary intakes adjusted for day-to-day variation.

Analysis of their estimates indicate that at age 5, children in the study have diets that are comparable nutritionally to a nationally representative group of children, that is, children from all income brackets. Moreover, multivariate analyses showed a positive independent association between how long the child participated with WIC during the first 5 years of life and the child’s diet quality on a given day: Those who participated into their 5th year had better diet quality than those who left in their 2nd or 3rd years. These findings highlight the important role that WIC plays in supporting families with low incomes by offering both nutrition education and nutritious supplemental foods.

Learn more: WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study 2: Fifth Year Report

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