Start Date: May 2009

ID #: 65852

Principal Investigator: Shannon Zenk, PhD

Organization: University of Illinois at Chicago College of Nursing

Funding Round: Rapid-Response Round 1

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture will implement a ground-breaking new policy by October 1, 2009 that adds a cash-value voucher for fruits and vegetables to the food packages provided in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (also known as WIC). This provides a rare opportunity to assess the effect of a major change in food assistance policy with the potential to reach minority children who are at highest risk for obesity. Building on baseline data collected by the study investigators in summer 2008 on WIC vendor locations and fruit and vegetable characteristics, this study will add two additional waves of data collection: one pre-policy (summer 2009) and one post-policy (summer 2010). Aims of this study include comparing pre- and post-policy implementation for changes in WIC vendor participation, attributes, spatial accessibility and fruit and vegetable characteristics (availability, selection, quality, price). Investigators will specifically assess whether changes in spatial accessibility of WIC vendors and fruit and vegetable characteristics at WIC vendors differ by neighborhood attributes. In addition, investigators will determine factors perceived by WIC vendors that influence change in WIC participation and fruit and vegetable characteristics. This study will assess all WIC vendors and neighborhoods in a seven-county area in Northern Illinois.

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