Preschoolers' diets improved after federal food voucher changes: study

April 7, 2016

(HealthDay)—A change to a U.S. government nutrition program improved the diets of millions of young children in low-income families, a new study says.

Researchers compared the eating habits of nearly 1,200 2- to 4-year-olds in low-income households before and after the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) was changed in 2009.

With the revamp, more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat were included in the WIC food voucher package.

The change improved the diets for the approximately 4 million in the program, according to the University of California (UC) study published April 7 in the journal Pediatrics.

"Although the findings only showed significant improvement for consumption of greens and beans, the other areas for which WIC has put in important efforts—increased consumption of whole fruits rather than fruit juice, increased whole grains—all show trends in the right direction...," study author June Tester said in a university news release. Tester is a pediatrician at the UC San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.

"Increasing consumption of nutritious foods such as and whole grains in the low-income children served by WIC will help them establish healthier eating patterns for their future," study co-author Patricia Crawford, a cooperative extension specialist with UC's Nutrition Policy Institute, said in the news release.

The researchers also found that the switch from whole milk to low-fat milk did not lead to children drinking less milk.

Explore further: Electronic cards to make WIC easier to use

More information: has more about healthy eating for children.

Related Stories

Electronic cards to make WIC easier to use

February 29, 2016
Pregnant women and parents using the Women, Infants and Children program will have an easier time buying food at the grocery store.

Healthier foods available in neighborhoods

August 21, 2014
Changes to the federal food assistance program for low-income women and their children improved the availability of healthy foods at small and medium-size stores in New Orleans, according to research from the Prevention Research ...

Families on food assistance buying fewer full-fat dairy products

November 7, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Efforts to reduce consumption of saturated fat among women and young children receiving food assistance appear to be paying off, according to a study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

People who get food assistance are eating more whole-grain products

September 19, 2013
Efforts to encourage healthy consumption of whole grains by people receiving federal food assistance are paying off, according to a study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

Obesity drops among children enrolled in NY state WIC nutrition program

January 8, 2013
New York children participating in a federal nutrition program had healthier eating behaviors and lower rates of obesity two years after improvements to the program were undertaken, according to a study published online today ...

Recommended for you

Parenting and personality work together to affect baby's weight gain

March 20, 2018
Offering a snack may be a sure way to soothe a fussy child, but researchers say making it a habit can result in unnecessary weight gain in babies with certain temperaments.

Babies fed soy-based formula have changes in reproductive system tissues

March 12, 2018
Infants who consumed soy-based formula as newborns had differences in some reproductive-system cells and tissues, compared to those who used cow-milk formula or were breastfed, according to a new study. The researchers say ...

Are newborns ugly? Research says newborns rated 'less cute' than older babies

March 9, 2018
Parents who aren't feeling that magical bond with their newborn babies need not panic.

Babies who look like their father at birth are healthier one year later: study

March 5, 2018
Infants who resemble their father at birth are more likely to spend time together with their father, in turn, be healthier when they reach their first birthday, according to new research co-conducted by faculty at Binghamton ...

App connects mothers with lactation experts, improve breastfeeding rates

February 27, 2018
A newly developed proactive app could instantly connect breastfeeding mothers with pediatricians or lactation consultants to help collect data, monitor patients and provide consultation and support while improving breastfeeding ...

Study finds only half of infants with deadly meningitis show traditional signs of the disease

February 26, 2018
Researchers at St George's, University of London, say their new study shows the classic symptoms associated with bacterial meningitis are uncommon in young infants less than three months of age – the group at highest risk ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.