Start Date: November 2023

ID #: 81359

Principal Investigator: Lauren Au, PhD, RDN

Organization: Regents of the University of California

Funding Round: HER Round 13

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Medicaid, SNAP, and WIC provide low-income children access to vital medical and nutrition services for long-term health and well-being. Despite these benefits, few studies have investigated if these safety net programs, or the synergistic combination of all three programs, are associated with diet quality and weight status; and none have focused on examining these longitudinal relationships during infancy and early childhood. The primary aim of the proposed project is to determine whether length of participation in Medicaid, SNAP, and WIC is associated with diet quality and weight status at 2-5 years. The secondary aim is to determine whether there are differences in infant diet quality by Medicaid, SNAP, and WIC participation status in relation to diet quality and weight status at 2-5 years, and to what extent differences at 2-5 years are explained through early infant diet quality. Together, these aims seek to address whether there is a synergistic benefit of safety net program participation on dietary quality and health. This study will be a secondary data analysis of a national, longitudinal cohort study of WIC participants (n=2858). Diet quality will be assessed using the Healthy Eating Index-2020 (HEI-2020) and weight status will be assessed using body mass index z-scores (BMIz) at 2-5 years of age.

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