Are Rural Mothers and Infants Benefiting from Changes in National Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Policy?
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The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program provides supplemental nutritious foods and services (including nutritional education, breastfeeding support, and health care referrals) to pregnant and lactating women, infants and children up to five years of age in low-income households (i.e., <185% Federal Poverty Guidelines). A primary aim of the revised WIC benefits (i.e, new WIC Food Packages) is to improve infant health via incentivizing breastfeeding. In this project, we examined breastfeeding practices among rural WIC participants before and after this major federal policy change. Data from the National Food and Nutrition Survey, conducted before and after (repeated cross-section) implementation of WIC policy changes, was used to examine breastfeeding, infant feeding practices, and food/beverage consumption in rural areas. Our study included data from 58 WIC programs representing 38 states, two U.S. Districts and Territories, and ten Indian/Tribal Organizations. Publications Are Rural Infants Benefiting from Woman, Infants, and Children (WIC) Food Package Rule Changes? Breastfeeding and Infant Feeding Behaviors Policy Brief Southwest Rural Health Research Center Date: 02/2020 This study compared breastfeeding initiation for rural and urban Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) participants before and after the changes in WIC Food Packages (WIC-FPs). In addition, changes in breastfeeding and infant feeding practices before and after changes in WIC program benefits were explored.