Online Program

WIC in the 21st Century: Online and In-Person Education Improve Breakfast Behaviors, Beliefs and Knowledge

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 9:15 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

Lauren Au, PhD, RD, University of California, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute, Berkeley, CA
Shannon E. Whaley, PhD, Research and Evaluation Unit, PHFE-WIC, Irwindale, CA
Nila Rosen, MPH, University of California, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute, Berkeley, CA
Martha Meza, PHFE-WIC, CA
Lorrene Ritchie, PhD, RD, University of California, Agricultural and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute, Berkeley, CA
Introduction: With Millennials now the primary recipients of WIC services, effective modes of nutrition education delivery must be examined. While in-person education is expected to remain central to WIC service delivery, effective online nutrition education has the potential for increased exposure to quality education, improved efficiency, and a positive influence on nutrition behaviors in WIC participants. 

Methods: A randomized-controlled trial examining the impacts of online and in-person nutrition education on changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to breakfast eating was conducted between March-September 2014. WIC participants from 2 Los Angeles WIC clinics were randomly assigned to in-person group education (n=359) or online education (n=231). Education focused on ways to reduce breakfast skipping and promoted healthy breakfast eating. Questionnaires were administered before and after education, and at a 2-4 month follow-up. T-tests and x2 tests were used to compare changes within and between in-person and online groups. ANCOVA and GEE were used to assess differences in change between groups.

Results: Changes in knowledge between pre-test and follow-up were similar between groups. Both groups reported reductions in barriers to eating breakfast due to time constraints, not having foods at home, and difficulty with preparation. Increases in the frequency of eating breakfast were greater for both the parent (P=0.0007) and child (P=0.01) in the online group compared to the in-person group.

Discussion: This study shows the potential usefulness for online education modalities for future WIC services and demonstrates that in-person and online nutrition education were effective in increasing knowledge, reducing breakfast skipping, and improving breakfast-related behaviors.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Compare the impact of online to in-person nutrition education for WIC participants. Understand how to effectively promote healthy breakfast behaviors in the WIC population.

Keyword(s): Nutrition, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a principal or co-principal on this study and other studies of the Women, Infants and Children federal assistance program. As an integral part of this WIC study, my role in this study has included developing research questions, acquiring funding, designing study instruments, overseeing data collection, and interpretation of findings.
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.