Published: March 2022

ID #: CAS074

Journal: J Acad Nutr Diet

Authors: Morris EJ, Quinn EL, Rose CM, Spiker M, O'Leary J, Otten JJ

See more related research


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington State’s Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WA WIC) adopted federal waivers to transition to remote service delivery for certification and education appointments. WA WIC also expanded the approved food list without using federal waivers, adding more than 600 new items to offset challenges participants experienced accessing foods in stores. This study aimed to assess the reach and effectiveness of the programmatic changes instituted by WA WIC during the COVID-19 pandemic; the processes, facilitators, and challenges involved in their implementation; and considerations for their continuation in the future. This study included data from 52 state and local WIC staff and 40 WIC participants across the state of Washington and from various WA WIC programmatic records (2017-2021). The research team collected data and conducted analyses between January 2021 and August 2021. All WA WIC participants (n = 125,279 in May 2020) experienced the programmatic changes. Participation increased by 2% from March to December 2020 after WA WIC adopted programmatic changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Certification and nutrition education completion rates increased by 5% and 18% in a comparison of June 2019 with June 2020. Food benefit redemption also increased immediately after the food list was expanded in April 2020. Staff and participants were highly satisfied with remote service delivery, predominantly via the phone, and participants appreciated the expanded food options. Staff and participants want a remote service option to continue and suggested various changes to improve service quality.

Related Research

December 2021

WIC Remote Services and Expanded Food Options: Insights from Washington’s COVID-19 Response

This study aimed to assess programmatic changes made by the Washington State WIC program to offer remote services and more flexible food options, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Twelve focus groups with 52 WIC staff (10 state, 42 local) were conducted in Dec 2020 to Feb 2021, and interviews were conducted with 40 WIC More

September 2020

Assessing the Impact and Feasibility of WIC Remote Services and Expanded Food Options

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated barriers to participation in the WIC program, since people were encouraged or required to stay home and grocery stores experienced shortages of food items. Washington State’s WIC program has been actively re-tooling service delivery prior to and at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic to overcome participation barriers. This project More

April 2024

Mixed methods evaluation of the COVID-19 changes to the WIC cash-value benefit for fruits and vegetables

Recent cash-value benefit (CVB) increases are a positive development to help increase WIC participant fruits and vegetables (FV) access. This mixed method study aimed to evaluate (a) the CVB changes’ impact on FV access among WIC child participants measured by CVB redemption rates, (b) facilitators and barriers to CVB changes’ implementation, and (c) differences in More