WIC and non-WIC Infants and Children Differ in Usage of Some WIC-Provided Foods.J Nutr. 2018 09 01; 148(suppl_3):1547S-1556S.JN
USDA's Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides expert-chosen supplemental foods to improve the diets and health of low-income infants and children <5 y of age, but dietary behaviors of WIC participants are not well characterized.
The purpose of this analysis was to examine differences in food consumption patterns between WIC participants and nonparticipants.
FITS 2016 is a nationwide cross-sectional study of children <4 y (n = 3235). Data were weighted to provide US population-representative results. Children were categorized as WIC participants or nonparticipants, with the latter divided into lower- and higher-income nonparticipants. Group differences were assessed via the Wald test (demographics) and Rao-Scott modified chi-square test (breastfeeding prevalence). Differences in percentage consuming WIC-provided and selected other foods between WIC participants and nonparticipants were evaluated with the use of ORs and 95% CIs.
WIC infants were less likely to breastfeed than were higher-income nonparticipants at 0-5.9 mo (45% compared with 74%) and less likely than both nonparticipant groups at 6-11.9 mo (30% compared with 49-60%). WIC 6- to 11.9-mo-olds were more likely to consume infant cereals and vegetables than were lower-income nonparticipants. WIC 12 to 23.9-mo-olds were more likely to drink whole milk (which WIC provides at this age) than were nonparticipants (72% compared with 59-64%), whereas WIC participants 24-47.9 mo were more likely to drink low- and nonfat milks (which WIC provides at this age) than were nonparticipants (45% compared with 13-22%). WIC participants 6-47.9 mo were more likely to drink juice than were nonparticipants.
Continued improvements in early dietary patterns are warranted for WIC and non-WIC children. Breastfeeding among WIC participants is a continuing challenge. Findings suggest that baby-food cereals, vegetables, and fruits (all provided by WIC) contribute importantly to WIC infants' diets, whereas WIC children are more likely to use lower-fat milks after 2 y of age than are non-WIC participants.