Food assistance programs and income are associated with the diet quality of grocery purchases for households consisting of women of reproductive age or young children.Prev Med. 2020 09; 138:106149.PM
Women's diet quality during reproductive years and children's diet quality during early life influence long term health. Few studies have evaluated the impact of food assistance programs and income on the diet quality of grocery purchases made by households consisting of women of reproductive age and young children. We used data from the Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey 2012-2013 (FoodAPS) to evaluate how household income, Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) participation, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participation are related to the diet quality of grocery purchases made by households that include women of reproductive age or young children (n = 2436). The diet quality of household grocery purchases was assessed with the Healthy Eating Index (HEI) 2015. HEI-2015 total score (0-100) and component scores were evaluated according to household income (eligible for WIC: income-to-poverty ratio ≤ 185%; ineligible for WIC: income-to-poverty ratio > 185%) and WIC, SNAP, and WIC + SNAP participation. Median HEI-2015 total score was lowest among SNAP households and highest among income ineligible for WIC and WIC households (47.2 and 54.1, respectively). Compared to income ineligible for WIC households, WIC + SNAP and SNAP households had lower HEI-2015 whole fruit (β = -0.30, 95% CI: -0.59, -0.01 and β = -0.41, 95% CI: -0.63, -0.20, respectively) and total vegetable scores (β = -0.58, 95% CI: -0.83, -0.32 and β = -0.27, 95% CI: -0.45, -0.08, respectively). The diet quality of grocery purchases in this population varies according to household income and food assistance participation.