Research Alert: February 5, 2020

Are Rural Infants Benefiting from Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food Package Rule Changes? Breastfeeding and Infant Feeding Behaviors

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides healthy foods and services to low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, as well as to infants and children up to age 5. In 2009, revisions were made to the WIC program to further improve the nutrition and health of infants by providing benefits to promote and support breastfeeding among those who are able and to improve infant feeding practices. This study compared breastfeeding initiation for rural and urban WIC participants, as well as changes in breastfeeding and infant feeding practices before and after the WIC Food Packages (WIC-FPs) revisions. Secondary data from the National Food and Nutrition Survey were used consisting of data from 58 WIC programs representing 38 states, two U.S. districts and territories, and 10 Indian/tribal organizations. Our results revealed breastfeeding for WIC participants continues to move in a positive direction with evidence showing a significant increase in fully breastfeeding post WIC-FP revisions in both rural and urban participants. Our findings for infant feeding revealed an improvement in feeding practices post WIC-FP revisions, such as a delay in the introduction of solid food. Rural participants, however, were still lagging behind their urban counterparts.

Contact Information:

Ariun Ishdorj
Southwest Rural Health Research Center
Phone: 979.845.6322

Additional Resources of Interest: