Favorable Impact of Nutrition Education on California WIC Families

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Objective:To explore the impact of coordinated statewide nutrition education on Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) family behavior regarding fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lower-fat milk.Design:Survey of different cross-sectional samples of WIC families before and after education.Setting:Intervention delivered at all WIC sites in California from April-September 2009.Participants:Random samples of pregnant or postpartum women and/or caregivers of children enrolled in WIC: 3,015 before and 3,004 after coordinated nutrition education.Intervention:Education directed at families to eat more, and a greater variety of, fruits and vegetables; eat more whole grains; and drink lower-fat milk instead of whole milk.Main Outcome Measures:Data collected by phone interview of women and caregivers on recognition of education messages, intention to consume, and change in family consumption of target food items.Analysis:Means and frequencies computed. Chi-square and t tests used to compare responses before and after education and for Spanish and English subgroups.Results:Following nutrition education, women and caregivers reported increased recognition of education messages, positive movement in stage of change for target food items, increased family consumption of fruits and whole grains, and replacement of whole milk with lower-fat milk. Impacts were similar for Spanish and English speakers.Conclusions and Implications:Coordinated nutrition education in WIC can significantly influence consumption toward more healthful food choices.

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