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A Longitudinal Study of WIC Participation on Household Food Insecurity


We examined the association between women’s/children’s duration of WIC participation and household food security status. For mothers (n = 21,863) and their children (n = 57,377) participating in WIC (2001–2006), longitudinal measures of household food security status were collected using a subscale of the USDA Food Security Module. Using logistic regression, household food security status at the last WIC visit was associated with measures of WIC duration (number of trimesters on WIC for pregnant women, and number of WIC visits for children). Among women with prenatal household food insecurity with hunger, odds of any post-partum household food insecurity was reduced with first (AOR = 0.67, 95% CI = 0.48–0.94) or second trimester of entry (AOR = 0.64, 95% CI = 0.45–0.90) versus third. Among children with initial household food insecurity without hunger, an additional WIC visit reduced the odds of any household food insecurity (AOR = 0.92, 95% CI = 0.90–0.94) and of household food insecurity with hunger (AOR = 0.94, 95% CI = 0.89–0.98) at the last visit. Among those with initial household food insecurity with hunger, an additional WIC visit reduced the odds of any household food insecurity (AOR = 0.96, 95% CI = 0.92–0.99) and of household food insecurity with hunger (AOR = 0.88, 95% CI = 0.83–0.94) at the last visit. Earlier and longer WIC participation may improve household food security status, particularly of vulnerable groups.

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  1. As of 2006 the USDA modified the terminology from food insecurity with and without hunger to low food security and very low food security [3].


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We would like to gratefully acknowledge the Economic Research Service of the USDA for providing the funding for this research and the following individuals for their contribution to this project: (1) Lucia Kaiser and Tammy McMurdo, UC Davis RIDGE. (2) Mark Nord, ERS USDA. (3) Bettylou Sherry, CDC. (4) Mary Kelligrew Kassler, formerly Director- Nutrition Division and Massachusetts WIC, and WIC program staff and participants. (5) Joshua Nyambose, Data cleaning and management.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth Metallinos-Katsaras.

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Metallinos-Katsaras, E., Gorman, K.S., Wilde, P. et al. A Longitudinal Study of WIC Participation on Household Food Insecurity. Matern Child Health J 15, 627–633 (2011).

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  • Food security
  • Program evaluation
  • WIC