Start Date: December 2015

ID #: 73247

Principal Investigator: Shu Wen Ng, PhD

Organization: University of North Carolina at Chapel HIll

Funding Round: Round 9

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This will be the first systematic study to quantify on a national scale how the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food package changes, which were made in 2009 and finalized in 2014, relate to packaged food purchases (PFP) before and after these changes were made. The changes were intended to provide WIC participants with a wider variety of food options, promote healthier diets, and provide states greater flexibility to accommodate cultural food preferences of WIC participants since the new policy allows states discretion in the list of authorized foods. The aims of this study are to: 1) describe changes in the nutritional profile of PFP among WIC-participating vs. non-participating income-eligible households with any child ages 1 to 4, and 2) determine if state patterns in WIC package options improved the PFP nutritional profiles by WIC households across states belonging to different WIC package patterns. This will be a natural experiment with pre-post design, using similar socioeconomic but non-WIC participating households in the control group. Nutritional profiles of PFP will be measured by key nutrients, percent of calories from key food groups, percent of calories by convenience level, and percent of calories from processing level. Study findings may be used to identify WIC policy options that work to improve the nutritional outcomes among WIC recipients.

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