Healthy Eating Research is proud to announce 11 new research teams funded through our annual call for proposals. This call for proposals focused exclusively on children ages 0-8, and the resulting projects focus on a range of topics, including WIC, healthy beverage consumption, and food purchasing patterns.

We look forward to working with these teams over the next two years and sharing the results of their projects.

1. Expanding and evaluating a community-based intervention to increase healthy beverage consumption by Navajo preschool children

The Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Inc., PI: Sonya Shin, MD, MPH

In the Water is K’é intervention, early childhood education sites in the Northern Navajo Nation will select and implement site-based and community-level changes to address three aspects of water security: safety, access, and promotion. This Community-Based Participatory Research study will measure the impact on children’s water and sugary drink consumption, as well as caregiver’s attitudes and behaviors. Learn more.

2. Implementing and evaluating the impact for children from birth to age 5 of expanding the Cash-Value Benefit for the purchase of fruits and vegetables

Public Health Foundation Enterprises, Inc., dba Heluna Health, PI: Shannon Whaley, PhD

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Cash Value Benefit (CVB) is a monthly benefit for the purchase of fruits and vegetables. This project aims to implement an expansion of the monthly CVB and evaluate its impact on access to and intake of fruits and vegetables, food security, and ongoing WIC participation. Learn more.

3. Conducting a health-care-technology-based intervention to reduce sugary-beverage consumption for diverse populations of children

Wake Forest University Health Sciences, PI: Kristina Lewis, MD, MPH, SM

This project will develop and pilot a healthcare system-based intervention to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption among children 1-8 years old and their families. The goals of the intervention are to: reduce SSB consumption, promote appropriate levels of fruit juice consumption, and increase water consumption, while reducing racial/ethnic disparities in these behaviors. Learn more.

4. Evaluating innovations to overcome barriers to equitable access to and use of federal Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children benefits

Public Health-Seattle & King County, PI: Eva Wong, PhD

In 2019, King County, WA piloted an innovative mobile WIC strategy that brought services to community food banks and shelters. This project aims to evaluate the impact of the WIC mobile strategy on utilization of WIC education and food benefits. Learn more.

5. Understanding the lost opportunity of the Child and Adult Care Food Program in improving child nutrition and reducing health inequities

University of Connecticut, PI: Tatiana Andreyeva, PhD

The USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) plays a large role in supporting nutrition in child care settings, specifically targeting these benefits to low-income populations. The aims of this study include: understanding how recently updated CACFP meal patterns match the abilities of participating programs to implement them in practice, understanding how children’s dietary intakes have changed as a result of the updates, and enhancing knowledge about access to CACFP. Learn more.

6. Identifying strategies to improve American Indian women’s participation in the federal Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children

Johns Hopkins University, PI: Joel Gittelsohn, PhD, MSc

The WIC program has a strong record of promoting children’s health, growth, and development in marginalized populations; recently, however, Native American participation in WIC has declined significantly. This project aims to identify policy and program strategies to improve long-term WIC participation in Native American communities. Learn more.

7. Improving the actionable research base for health equity in breastfeeding by assessing an intervention to increase rates in minority populations

Boston Medical Center Corporation, PI: Anne Merewood, PhD, MPH, IBCLC

Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices (CHAMPS) is a multi-sectoral, policy, system, and environmental initiative which has significantly increased breastfeeding rates among black populations. This project will provide an evaluation of CHAMPS in Mississippi using the Reach, Effectiveness, Adoption, Implementation, and Maintenance (RE-AIM) framework. Learn more.

8. Studying the impact of combining fiscal incentives and disincentives to improve healthy food purchases by low-income households with children

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, PI: Shu Wen Ng, PhD

This project seeks to advance nutritional equity by identifying ways to lower economic barriers to healthy eating among low-income households with children 0 to 8 years of age. The project will use simulation models to identify mechanisms for directing unhealthy food and beverage tax revenues towards healthy incentives, particularly through existing federally-funded, but local and state-run programs such as WIC and SNAP. Learn more.

9. Providing actionable evidence for equity-focused strategies to improve diet quality and food security for low-income pregnant women and for infants

The Regents of the University of California, San Francisco, PI: Hilary Seligman, MD, MAS

This project will leverage WIC infrastructure and an ongoing local voucher program (EatSF) to provide fruit and vegetable vouchers in addition to WIC benefits in order to determine the impact of supplemental vouchers on reducing food insecurity. Learn more.

10. Studying facilitators and barriers in coupon redemption for fruits and vegetables by Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children participants

Sinai Urban Health Institute, PI: Helen Margellos-Anast, MPH

The Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) provides WIC clients with coupons to purchase fruits and vegetables from approved farmers markets in addition to their regular WIC benefits; however, research is inconclusive about the extent to which FMNP coupons are redeemed, with some evidence that redemption rates are lower in inner-city communities. This project will focus on the facilitators and barriers to coupon redemption among clients of three Chicago-based WIC clinics. Learn more.

11. Assessing Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program families’ online food purchasing behaviors to inform policies targeting expansion of SNAP benefits

University of Maryland, PI: Angela Trude, PhD

The USDA recently launched a pilot to assess the feasibility of a SNAP online purchasing program, which is soon to be launched in Maryland. This project aims to develop and test a reliable and valid questionnaire that assesses attitudes, social norms, and behavioral control perceptions of online and in-store grocery shopping among SNAP participants with children under 8 years of age. Learn more.