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WIC Participation Patterns: An Investigation of Delayed Entry and Early Exit

  • Jacknowitz, Alison
  • Tiehen, Laura

USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutritious foods, nutrition counseling, and referrals to health and other social services to low-income women and their infants/children up to age 5. Despite the health benefits of WIC participation, many eligible women do not participate during pregnancy, and many households exit WIC when a participating child turns 1 year old. The authors of this report use the first two waves of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (ECLS-B) to understand these transitions into and out of WIC. Findings show that households that are more economically advantaged are more likely to delay entry into the program or exit after a child turns 1 year old. Some of the mothers exiting the program reported that WIC requires too much effort and that its benefits are not worth the time (26.2 percent of those exiting) or that they have scheduling and transportation problems (almost 10 percent of those exiting), suggesting that the costs of participation may be a barrier to continued WIC participation.

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Paper provided by United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service in its series Economic Research Report with number 102759.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:102759
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  1. Marianne P. Bitler & Janet Currie, 2005. "Does WIC work? The effects of WIC on pregnancy and birth outcomes," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 73-91.
  2. Davis, David E. & Leibtag, Ephraim S., 2005. "Interstate Variation In Wic Food Package Costs: The Role Of Food Prices, Caseload Composition, And Cost-Containment Practices," Food Assistance and Nutrition Research Reports 33811, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  3. Marianne Bitler & Craig Gundersen & Grace S. Marquis, 2005. "Are WIC Nonrecipients at Less Nutritional Risk Than Recipients? An Application of the Food Security Measure ," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 27(3), pages 433-438.
  4. Marianne P. Bitler & Janet Currie, 2005. "The changing association between prenatal participation in WIC and birth outcomes in New York City: What does it mean?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(4), pages 687-690.
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