Women, Infant, and Children (Wic) Help Who Is at Nutritional Risk
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Women, Infant, and Children (WIC), is a policy focused to serve the low-income, infants and children up to age 5 as well as who are at nutrition risk. The WIC program was established as a pilot program in 1972 and was finalized in 1974. The program, was first organized by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The WIC program was formerly known as the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children. However, the name was changed through the Healthy Meals for Healthy Americans Act of 1994. The name was changed because to stress that is has very crucial role as a nutrition program (‘Frequently Asked Questions about WIC | Food and Nutrition Service’, 2018).
The WIC program is also a grant funded program in which the funding are evaluated by congress each year (Dietary Risk Assessment in the WIC Program, (2002). After it was completed in 1974, the opening year of WIC had about “88,000 participants. In the 1980, there were 1.9 million participants by 1985, 3.1 million, 1990, 4.5 million; 2000, 7.2 million (‘Frequently Asked Questions about WIC | Food and Nutrition Service’, 2018).” In the year 2016, the monthly average for FY was about 7.7 million and in 2017, the sum of women, infants, and children receiving WIC supports each month got roughly 7.3 million. Children who are the most important priority group of WIC applicants; they were about 3.76 children and 1.79 million were infants out of the 7.3 million participants in 2017 and about 1.74 were women in that yea. In addition, for the duration of the first 5 months of the FY 2018, the States documented average of monthly participation over 7 million applicants per month (‘Frequently Asked Questions about WIC | Food and Nutrition Service’, 2018).
In order to be eligible for the WIC program, one must be pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children age to 5. The participants are also required to meet the income criteria in addition to the nutritional risk criteria. Some the nutritional risk criterial comprises anthropometric, biochemical, medical, and dietary risks, as well as some influencing conditions such as residency, Homelessness/migrancy etc. Infants up to 6 months of age whose mother was an applicant of WIC or have benefited had serious medical problems. This is so to prioritize the people who are more eligible and needy for the WIC program as well to be mindful that it is a funded program (Dietary Risk Assessment in the WIC Program, (2002).
There are two categories of nutritional risk which are known for WIC admissibility. One is Medically-based risks which is identified to be selected as “high priority”, like anemia. Following is the diet-based risks like insufficient dietary pattern, which are identified by health professionals through the Federal guidelines. In addition, these health screening is fee to program candidates (‘Frequently Asked Questions about WIC | Food and Nutrition Service’, 2018). Since beginning of April 1999, state agencies are using a rubric provided by the WIC program. This rubric was established by FNS, composed with State and local WIC agency specialists. However, it has not been commanded by WIC State agencies to use all of the criteria list. In addition, the FNS bring up-to-date the list of measures, as needed, as soon as new scientific evidence displays. Furthermore, FNS reviews and other health and nutrition professionals, that the condition can be enhanced by providing WIC program benefits and services (‘Frequently Asked Questions about WIC | Food and Nutrition Service’, 2018).
In addition to the nutritional risks, the participants’ income must be equal to or below the 185 percent of the United States Poverty Income Guidelines, before taxes. For example, a Family of 1 must make $22,311 annually, $1,860 monthly and $430 weekly. For example, a person or a family member who partakes in order to use programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families automatically meet the income eligibility requirement (‘Frequently Asked Questions about WIC | Food and Nutrition Service’, 2018).
In WIC agencies, members are provided monthly checks or vouchers to buy limited foods that are well-thought-out to better their diets. The limited food that members can buy are nutricious foods, like dairy, fish, peanut butter, beans, and fruits and vegetables (WIC Works: Addressing…Families for 40 Years, 2018).
Although, some WIC agencies may use electronic cards (EBT), which is growing, and it will be mandatory to be used by October 1, 2020. While some state agencies hand out the foods through warehouses or deliver to participants’ homes which are approved by the WIC program (‘Frequently Asked Questions about WIC | Food and Nutrition Service’, 2018). Breastfeeding is also making development as the best source of nutrition for infants. According to the article Addressing…Families for 40 Years, “the American Academy of Pediatrics endorses mothers to breastfeed their child completely for the first six months, and or continue to until the mother and baby desires it”. Studies has shown that breastfeeding can be very beneficial against many illness, allergies, link with reducing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and childhood obesity. In addition, mothers are offered counseling, peer support, and benefits like providing approved and safe formula-fed infants (WIC Works: Addressing…Families for 40 Years, 2018).
Revitalizing Quality Nutrition Services (RQNS) objective is to improve and stress the efficiency of WIC nutrition services by partnering with Federal, State and local levels. . This program heightens WIC nutrition services to better encounter the public health difficulty of in the present day in addition to the WIC program services for nutritional risk. This program makes sure that the WIC staff members go through proper training in order to confirm that they are able to assist the needs of the WIC members. In order for WIC to promote premiere national public health nutrition program, help members to achieve and maintain optimal nutritional status. WIC is also required to provide each adult participant and parent/caregiver of infant or child participant to obtain at least two nutrition education contacts throughout the certification period which happens every 6 months (‘Revitalizing Quality Nutrition Services (RQNS) | Food and Nutrition Service’, 2018).
The methods that I used to search for to search for the articles were PUBMED, American journal of Public Health. These were the primary research databases that I used to find my literature review articles. I also used gray literature review sites that enhanced my data search such as CDC and the National WIC Association. The search words I used like low income population, childhood obesity and WIC, Latinos or Hispanics, African American and WIC. Also used words like nutrition, physical activity and association with WIC. I also narrowed my outcome search and focuses on Nutrition education, reduction on fatty food and beverages, and promoting healthy behavior life style. The criteria I used to grade the quality of the articles was the methods and their objectives in the studies conducted. Initially I identified more than 6 studies when using the search strings but narrowed it down to the most quality paper that would go with my research question and desire outcomes. In which I identified 4 quality literature review articles that best fit the desire outcomes.
In the studies found, the main theme that were consistent across the literature is that adherence to nutritional education, reduction of fatty foods and sugary drinks and positive towards healthy behaviors like physical activities and healthy food choices. In the first study “Feasibility and Benefits of a Parent-Focused Preschool Child Obesity Intervention” the main goal of this study was to examine the feasibility and benefits of a program to promote 6 targeted parental behaviors to obesity in children served by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). I would grade this article 5 for the reasons of their results. In this they talk about how parents can be an influential to prevent childhood obesity in their children as well as benefit from precise education supporting their efforts.
The article also explains, that in childhood obesity there is a genetic variation involved but the child’s situation, such as parental encouragement, food availability also factor into it. Some things which can reduce childhood obesity are eating healthy and exercising can have great effect on the reduction of it. In this study the Virginia Department of Health, in collaboration with university faculty members in prevention research, established a state-specific “Fit WIC” childhood overweight/obesity prevention program influential in social cognitive theory, self-efficacy theory and relevant applied research studies (McGavey, et al., 2004).
These motivational messages were also reinforced by The WIC staff members and neighboring community organizations also repeat these messages. The staff of the clinic with the client contact were also encouraged to take part in the 6 “staff wellness challenges.” They were encouraged to watch their eating healthy habits and remain as healthy model to their client. For example, eating a homemade lunch to advertise to their clients for them to notice. The was another a great point to do so that the staff member also has a better understanding of these challenges. Another great idea was to collaborate with the community services groups, they also received the WIC health education materials and have them share with their (McGavey, et al., 2004).
The study results showed and established their viability of implementing Fit WIC in the involvement clinic. The Fit WIC parents saw the staff who took up the Fit WIC intervention and observed their healthy behaviors. They also used the community activity centers then the comparison group. They found out it was a successful intervention in educational groups, staff and community reinforcement. They also noted a change in one food associated behavior occurrence of offering a child water and abstain from sweetened drinks and also noted one activity related behavior change like playing with child. This was for both English and Spanish speaking participants. This was a great initiative to show these changes to parents since the more you see something the more you will be impactful in one’s life. Overall, they study showed a success in what they expected and what they had like the outcome to be (McGavey, et al., 2004).
Another study which went into more in-depth of the staff participation in the Fit WIC program was called the “Walking the Talk: Fit WIC Wellness Programs Improve Self-Efficacy in Pediatric Obesity Prevention Counseling.” I would grade this study as 5 for the reasons of their methods and results. This study’s purpose was to increase the confidence of the WIC staff members in counseling clients about childhood obesity and as well as to promote a healthy lifestyle behavior. In addition, it was to improve the counseling behaviors of the staff that can better their communication skill with the WIC clients. This was designed to enable staff to counsel WIC members more enthusiastically and efficiently in regard to preventions of childhood overweight/Obesity (Cawford, et al., 2004).
The staff members were encouraged to bring in homemade “brown bag lunches”, healthy food pot lunches, “water drinking challenges” (staff were encouraged to increase daily consumption of water), lunchtime walking groups, “step challenges” and the addition of on-site exercise equipment. This implantation of the staff bringing changes in their life style is great because it also encourages them bring those changes in their life style that would like to see in their clients. Another nice thing about this study they also gave the staff member incentive like lunch bags which encourages to bring lunch form home. They clinic itself tried to support their behavior by giving them a 10-minute exercise break at a certain time of their work day. This was a nice initiative of the of the WIC program (Cawford, et al., 2004).
There results contained 51 staff member who completed the before and after survey. In this study, the participants were a mix of WIC specialists, and site supervisors who were also registered dietitians. They also noted that there were more women staff were in both the control and intervention site. The researcher also concluded that the intervention site were approximately twice as likely to sense the support of their work place and they were physically active nearly three times as likely to feel the workplace motivated their efforts to make healthy food collections. This also helped the staff member to better encourage their WIC clients to make heathy choices. They felt comfortable in talking about weight issues with the parents of overweight (Cawford, et al., 2004).
The third article showed the positive impact of WIC on preventing childhood obesity is called the “WIC-Based Intervention to Prevent Early Childhood Overweight.” I would grade this article a 4 because they clearly state the type of study they will be conducting, the design, and their results. This study main objective was to assess the influence of SSNP and WIC program based on the food, beverage intake, physical activity, and television watching of children ages 1-5. They conducted a longitudinal survey of intervention and control participants at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months. They have clearly shown who their intervention groups and who are the intervention are. They also state the distance of the WIC site location of the intervention and the control WIC sites, which about 25 miles. They are state that the amount of participant in each group, which were 412 for the intervention site and 409 at the control site (Whaley, et al., 2010).
Furthermore, also provide a detail about the survey and what type of question it such as choice and Likert scale questions about the child’s food and beverage intake, physical activity, and television watching, as well as questions about whether caregivers were trying to make changes in any of these behaviors. This study was not only in English, but as well as Spanish which was another good idea to recruited diverse participants and the target population. There results indicated that there was small but a significant enforcement on TV watching and fruit intake. However, they mentioned that these interventions are more success at early year of infant and child feeding. This showed that in order to bring changes in a child health, it is better a younger age (Whaley, et al., 2010).
The last article that shows that WIC is impactful in bringing change in childhood obesity is called the “Childhood Obesity Prevention in the Women, Infants, and Children Program: Outcomes of the MA-CORD Study.” I would rate this article a 5 since this showed that the MA-CORD intervention had reduced prevalence of obesity risk factors. This article motive was to explore WIC intervention improved BMI z-score and obesity-related behaviors among children age 2-5 years. This study was conducted through a “linear mixed model to examine BMI z-score and a logistic regression models to inspect variations in obesity-related behaviors in each intervention site distinguished with the comparison over two years’ time frame (Baidal, et al, 2018).”
The researchers also did a before and after intervention evaluation of the prevalence of obesity-related behaviors of WIC members. This study clearly states of who their target group is like the low-income population and as well as the time of the study. There results indicated that the intervention group had improved sugar-sweetened beverages consumption and sleep duration. This was not observed in the comparison group, they also did not see a difference in the BMI z-score of the comparison group. They clearly stated their results and their findings and analysis (Baidal, et al, 2018).
In conclusion, evidence has shown that the WIC policy have a tremendous impact on reducing and preventing childhood obesity. Since the WIC policy aims to promote and educate the population on nutritional and physical activity behaviors as shown in the literature review section of this paper.
It also has shown that childhood obesity can be prevented at an earlier age better when it first encountered like under age 2. The population at risk mostly is African American children and Hispanics children, the studies conducted have implied that the studies were also available in Spanish which means that it also brought change in that community as well. This policy has shown that the WIC policy has the ability to promote and decrease childhood obesity. Since the studies conducted there is much major in between, they are from 2004 to 2018. Another, idea to better the WIC motive is to make it a requirement of their children to show monthly logs of eating habit and physical activity, which can show their life’s style and address as soon as possible.