253516 WIC participation, prenatal intentions and breastfeeding

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sarah Martin-Anderson, MPP MPH , Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 50% of all infants in 2010 participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The pervasiveness of the program, coupled with a doubling of WIC research appropriation in 2011 and a current political battle over its efficacy, demands rigorous evaluation of WIC's merits. This study focuses on two research questions: (1) do prenatal feelings about infant feeding predict postnatal take-up of WIC, indicating that women are rationally refusing to participate because they have no need for the formula vouchers and (2) do these prenatal intentions modify the relationship between WIC take-up and breastfeeding duration. To investigate these questions, I use the Infant Feeding Practices Survey II (IFPS2), a panel study of approximately 4000 women who gave birth in late 2005 and early 2006. I use a propensity score approach to estimate selection-on-observables models. While these models do not necessarily provide unbiased estimates conditional on unobservable characteristics, this study is the first of its kind to incorporate prenatal attitudes towards feeding with traditional demographic characteristics. Preliminary results indicate a significant relationship between likelihood of WIC take-up and a favorable prenatal breastfeeding environment, and that this relationship differs conditional on parity. Results also indicate that women firmly committed to one feeding method or another are less likely to be affected by WIC participation than undecided women, and that undecided women who participate in WIC are more likely to be moved towards formula feeding than undecided women who do not.

Learning Areas:
Biostatistics, economics
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the relationship between prenatal feeding intentions and WIC Participation Discuss whether the "WIC Effect" differs depending on propensity to breastfeed

Keywords: Breastfeeding, WIC

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a fourth year doctoral student in Public Policy studying the relationship between public program participation and child health outcomes.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.