WIC Community Spill-Over: Access to WIC-authorized Stores and Child Consumption Behaviors


abstract: Background: Stores authorized by the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) have been shown to improve the community food environments of lower-income areas by stocking healthy food items in accordance with the program’s food package guidelines. Whether greater access to WIC-authorized stores is associated with improvements in diet among children from WIC and non-WIC households is not well understood. Methods: Secondary analysis of cross-sectional data collected in 2009-2010 and 2014 for the New Jersey Child Health Study (NJCHS). Surveys from 2,211 urban households with 3-18-year-old children. Counts of WIC stores near children’s homes determined through geo-coding of store and household addresses using roadway network distances of 0.5 and 1.0 mile. Children’s consumption was categorized in age-specific deciles of quantities consumed for each food category examined: fruits, vegetables, sugar from sugar-sweetened beverages, total added sugars. Associations between counts of WIC stores and children’s consumption were examined, first for the full sample, then by household WIC participation. Results: No significant associations between WIC store counts near children’s homes and consumption were observed in the overall sample at any distance. A small, but significant inverse relationship was seen in total added sugar consumption among children residing in WIC households only, with each additional WIC store within a 0.5 mile roadway network associated with a 0.24-decile lower consumption (p = .047). In age-stratified exploratory analysis, higher vegetable (p = .024) and combined fruits and vegetables (p = .006) consumption were seen in the under 5 age group only. Conclusions: Living close to more WIC-authorized stores was associated with healthier consumption, but only for a subset of children and only for a few food categories examined. Lack of a consistent pattern of healthier consumption among children suggests that access to WIC stores may have a positive, albeit limited impact on children’s diets.Dissertation/ThesisMasters Thesis Nutrition 202

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Last time updated on 08/04/2021

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