Project: Association Between Prenatal WIC Exposure and Maternal Behavior, Health, and Birth Outcomes
Award Year: 2006
Amount of award, fiscal 2006: $180,000.00
Institution: National Bureau of Economic Research
Principal Investigator: Ted Joyce
Status: Completed
Detailed Objective: Recent analyses have reached different conclusions on WIC’s effectiveness in improving birth outcomes. Although many public health analysts have found WIC to be strongly protective against preterm birth, the clinical literature contains little support for such an association. If WIC enhances infant health, then participation should also be associated with indicators of maternal health and behaviors that affect intrauterine growth. This study will provide a comprehensive analysis of the effects of prenatal WIC participation on a wide range of outcomes. It will test not only whether prenatal enrollment in WIC is associated with fetal growth but also whether early enrollment in WIC is associated with smoking and drinking during pregnancy, smoking cessation, greater prenatal care, maternal weight gain, anemia, multivitamin consumption, and breastfeeding. Methodologically, the study will present novel approaches to selection bias and will exploit falsification tests as a means of flagging questionable associations. The study will use data on nine States that participate in the Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System (PNSS), which combines the advantage of administrative data (and its detailed information on WIC enrollment) with those of survey data (and its information on health outcomes and behavior).
Topic: Nutrition-Related Health Outcomes, WIC
Yunzal-Butler, C., T. Joyce, and A. Racine. “Maternal Smoking and the Timing of WIC Enrollment,” Maternal and Child Health Journal, Vol. 14, No. 3, May 2010.