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J Acad Nutr Diet. 2014 Apr;114(4):622-30. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2013.08.018. Epub 2013 Nov 7.

The positive effects of the revised milk and cheese allowances in the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children.


In 2009, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) implemented revisions to the WIC food packages. Milk and cheese allowances were reduced, and whole milk was disallowed for participants older than 23 months. Using a pre-post research design and scanner data from a New England supermarket chain on purchases of WIC households, this article assesses how the new WIC packages affected milk and cheese purchases and saturated fat intake among WIC households in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Milk and cheese volume purchased by 515 WIC households in Connecticut was compared before and after the WIC revisions (2009-2010) using generalized estimating equation models. Analysis for Massachusetts was descriptive. After implementation of the new WIC packages in Connecticut, whole-milk share declined from about 60% to 25% in WIC milk purchases, but remained flat at about 50% for purchases with non-WIC funds. Total milk volume fell by 14.2% (P<0.001), whole milk by half (P<0.001), and WIC-eligible cheese by 37.2% (P<0.001). Restrictions on whole milk shifted WIC purchases to reduced-fat milk in Connecticut and low-fat milk in Massachusetts, where reduced-fat milk is not permitted by WIC. The amounts of saturated fat from purchased milk and cheese declined by 85 g/month per WIC household in Connecticut and 107 g/month in Massachusetts. The 2009 WIC revisions led to a substantial decrease in purchases of whole milk and cheese among WIC families in New England. The related reduction in saturated fat intake could have important public health implications.

Copyright © 2014 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Food policy; Grocery purchases; Milk; Saturated fat intake; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

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