The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Spillover Effect: Do Siblings Reap the Benefits?

Stephanie Steeves, Francesco Acciai, Natasha Tasevska, Robin S. DeWeese, Michael J. Yedidia, Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) among 0- to 5-year-old children is associated with healthier diets. Extension of dietary benefits to older, age-ineligible children (5-18 years old) residing in WIC households has not been fully investigated. Objective: Examine the association between household WIC participation and dietary behaviors of age-ineligible children. Design: Cross-sectional secondary analysis of data collected from 2 independent panels (2009-2010 and 2014) of the New Jersey Child Health Study, using household surveys. Questions derived from national surveys assessed consumption frequency of specific foods among 5- to 18-year-old children. Participants/setting: The analytic sample included 616 age-ineligible children from households with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level, 398 of whom were from WIC-participating households. Main outcome measures: Eating behaviors were measured as frequency of daily consumption of fruit, vegetables, 100% juice, sugar-sweetened beverages, and sweet and salty snacks. Statistical analysis: Multivariable negative binomial models examined the association between eating behaviors and household WIC participation status adjusting for child's age, sex, and race; mother's education; city of residence; household size; and panel. Results are expressed as incidence rate ratios (IRRs). Results: Household WIC participation was not associated with dietary behaviors among age-ineligible children (5-18 years old) in the overall sample. However, healthier dietary patterns were observed for specific demographic groups. Compared with age-ineligible children in non-WIC households, age-ineligible children in WIC households had (1) a higher frequency of vegetable consumption among 12- to 18-year-old children (IRR = 1.29; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.58; P =.015); (2) a marginally significant higher frequency of 100% juice consumption among females (IRR = 1.27; 95% CI 1.00-1.62; P =.053); and (3) a lower frequency of sugar-sweetened beverages consumption among Hispanic children (IRR = 0.61; 95% CI 0.43-0.86; P =.004). Conclusions: Household WIC participation may positively influence dietary behaviors of age-ineligible children, suggesting a possible WIC spillover effect. Revisions to WIC package composition should consider the possible dietary implications for all children in the household.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1288-1294
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Volume120
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Keywords

  • Age-ineligible children
  • Dietary behaviors
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Spillover effect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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