Project: Evaluating Changes in WIC Participant Food Purchasing as a Result of WIC Nutrition Education
Award Year: 2001
Amount of award, fiscal 2001: $260,187.00
Institution: Health Systems Research, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Loren Bell
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: The study uses point-of-purchase data from grocery stores in Washington State together with WIC administrative records to examine changes in WIC participant shopping behavior (for WIC foods) after the implementation of local nutrition education interventions designed to change purchasing behaviors (for WIC foods).

The study examines whether the nutrition education programs of local WIC clinics results in changes in participant purchasing patterns, to what extent these changes vary by client demographic and nutritional risk status, and whether changes in food purchasing patterns vary by type of nutrition education intervention and number of nutrition education contacts.

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has taken a leadership role in promoting nutrition education for low-income Americans. The nutrition education component of WIC is targeted to helping low-income women with children make healthful food choices. The WIC program limits the type of foods that can be purchased by participants, but allows participants to make choices about which specific foods they select within the various categories (for example, skim milk versus whole milk).

To examine the effectiveness of the WIC nutrition education program, the study will collect point-of-purchase data from grocery stores in selected geographic areas in Washington State before and after implementation of local WIC nutrition education interventions. By combining these data with WIC administrative records, the study will determine if WIC participants from various demographic groups purchase all of their WIC foods, which specific foods are purchased, and whether purchasing behavior changed after the nutrition education intervention.

Topic: Nutrition Education, WIC
Bell, L., and S. Gleason. Using Point-of-Purchase Data To Evaluate Local WIC Nutrition Education Interventions: Feasibility Study, Contractor and Cooperator Report No. 26, USDA, ERS, January 2007.