In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act authorized USDA to approve waivers, requested by WIC state agencies and Tribal Nations, which would ensure WIC benefit access for families already participating in the program, as well as newly eligible families. These waivers and flexibilities provided researchers a natural experiment opportunity to understand the impact of these program changes on diet quality, food security, and related health and economic outcomes for children and families. HER funded four research teams to examine the implementation of WIC remote services and online grocery ordering during the pandemic. This brief presents key findings from those studies. Findings from these four projects emphasize the importance of remote services and online ordering in WIC, yet additional policy, program, and research efforts are needed in the short term to improve the availability and accessibility of services.
Published: December 2021
Publisher: Healthy Eating Research
Authors: Arm K, Miller L
Additional Fruit and Vegetable Vouchers for Pregnant WIC Clients: An Equity-Focused Strategy to Improve Food Security and Diet QualityWomen with low household income and from racial/ethnic minority groups are at elevated risk of food insecurity. Food insecurity during pregnancy is associated with overall less healthy diets, lower intake of the pregnancy-supportive nutrients iron and folate, and significant variations in diet across the course of a month. The goal of this study was to More
Dynamics of macroeconomic factor effects on food assistance program participation in the United StatesMacroeconomic factors relating to economic, financial, and sociological stress are identified and their impacts assessed concerning participation in key food assistance programs (SNAP, WIC, and NSLP). The econometric analysis covers the period October 1999 to September 2020. The impact of COVID-19 on participation in these programs also is quantified. Based on the parameter estimates obtained More