Online Program

Barriers and facilitators to early childhood participation in WIC: Lessons learned from formative research in New York state and Illinois

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:50 a.m.

Sanya Peck, M.P.H., Division of Nutrition, New York State Department of Health, Menands, NY
Stephanie Bess, MS, RD, LDN, Illinois Department of Human Services, Illinois WIC, Springfield, IL
Sylvia Byun, MPH, School of Public Health, State University of New York at Albany, Rensselaer, NY
Ruth Vasquez, Division of Nutrition, New York State Department of Health, Menands, NY
Summer Porter, MS, RD, Kinesiology and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL
LaShon Reese, MEd, RD, LDN, CLC, IL Dept. Human Services, Chicago, IL
Molly McGown, MPH, Anthropology and Global Health, University of Illinois Chicago, Chicago, IL
Angela Odoms-Young, PhD, Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

Jackson Sekhobo, PhD, MPA, Division of Nutrition, New York State Department of Health, Menands, NY
Nationally, it is estimated that 45% of WIC eligible infants and children do not enroll and/or terminate participation in WIC before their first birthday. Although some speculate that families leave WIC because they no longer need formula, research studies examining barriers and facilitators to WIC retention are limited. This is the first study to have focused on collaborative WIC retention efforts beyond individual states. Qualitative data including 25 focus groups, 50 individual interviews, and over 150 surveys were conducted with local WIC agency staff /coordinators, vendors, WIC clients, and Head Start staff across NYS and IL. Inductive content analysis was used to identify themes within and across participant categories. Descriptive and bivariate statistics were performed using SPSS.The most commonly reported barriers across all participant categories were; lack of time/scheduling difficulties/hectic lifestyles, negative shopping and clinic experiences, and the low perceived value of WIC services/benefits. Innovative facilitators suggested by participants were: better preparation for shopping with WIC checks, improving the WIC-acceptable Foods list, switching from paper-based checks to electronic benefits transfer (EBT) card, creating smart phone apps, automated text message reminders, strategic partnerships with healthcare and childcare providers, clinic environment activities for children, and a progressive statewide marketing campaign of the WIC program. Facilitators that can be implemented within a six-month period will be piloted at selected WIC local agencies across the states. Results from the piloted facilitators can be used by the NYS and IL WIC program to reduce barriers identified by the focus group participants.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify the differences and similarities in facilitators and barriers identified by the two states Discuss the implications of these barriers and facilitators for participation in food assistance programs and child health

Keyword(s): Adherence, Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I work as a program research specialist for the NYS Department of Health
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.