ERIC Number: ED451961
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Food Assistance: Research Provides Limited Information on the Effectiveness of Specific WIC Nutrition Services. Report to Congressional Committees.
Robertson, Robert E.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federally funded program providing supplemental food and nutrition services to lower-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women and also serves infants and children up to age 5 who are at nutritional risk. Included in these services are nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health and social services. As directed by the William F. Goodling Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 1998, this report: (1) identifies the number and nature of recent studies that have examined the effectiveness of nutrition education, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referral services; and (2) summarizes research information on the effectiveness of these services. Information was obtained through relevant databases and consultation with WIC program staff and other program stakeholders. Twelve demonstration and seven impact studies conducted after 1995 were examined. Most studies focused on breastfeeding promotion and support. Despite some methodological limitations, the findings of the demonstration studies suggest that certain types of interventions, such as providing breastfeeding support in the hospital following delivery, have the potential to be more effective than the usual WIC interventions. The more effective strategies may cost more than usual WIC approaches. The findings of the seven impact studies provided few insights into the effectiveness of specific services. Their findings were severely limited by methodological constraints, including the use of outdated and poor-quality data. This report concludes with a recommendation that the Department of Agriculture improve demonstration research by incorporating relevant cost information. Six appendices include information on the methodology, bibliographies of the demonstration and impact studies, and a table delineating major findings, scope, and limitations of the demonstration studies. (Contains 23 endnotes.) (KB)
Descriptors: Breastfeeding, Females, Low Income Groups, Nutrition, Nutrition Instruction, Preschool Children, Program Effectiveness, Program Evaluation, Referral, Research Problems
U.S. General Accounting Office, P.O. Box 37050, Washington, DC 20013. Tel: 202-512-6000; Tel: 202-512-2537 (TDD); Fax: 202-512-6061; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.gao.gov.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: General Accounting Office, Washington, DC.