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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2014 May-Jun;46(3 Suppl):S38-44. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.01.008.

The influence of the WIC food package changes on the retail food environment in New Orleans.

Author information

1
Department of Global Community Health, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA. Electronic address: diego@tulane.edu.
2
Department of Global Community Health, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the effect of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food package changes on availability of healthy foods in small stores.

DESIGN:

Pre-post comparison group design with repeat in-store observations.

SETTING:

New Orleans.

PARTICIPANTS:

Small stores (n = 102; 77% of total) were visited in 2009. Of these, 91% were observed again in 2010, including both WIC (n = 27) and non-WIC (n = 66) stores.

INTERVENTION:

The 2009 WIC food package changes to include healthier foods.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Change in store availability of fruits, vegetables, lower-fat milks, whole wheat bread, and brown rice. Change in number of varieties and shelf length of fruits and vegetables.

ANALYSIS:

Difference-in-differences analysis using logit models for change in availability and regression models for change in number of varieties or shelf length.

RESULTS:

The WIC stores were more likely to improve availability of lower-fat milks than non-WIC stores (adjusted odds ratio, 5.0, 95% confidence interval, 1.2-21.0). An even greater relative improvement was seen with whole grains. The WIC stores showed a relative increase in number of varieties of fresh fruits (0.9 ± 0.3; P < .01) and shelf length of vegetables (1.2 ± 0.4 meters; P < .01).

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Results suggest that WIC changes improved the availability of healthy foods in small stores in New Orleans. Similar changes throughout the country could have a significant impact on neighborhood food environments.

KEYWORDS:

United States Department of Agriculture; WIC; food environment; food supply; policy

PMID:
24809995
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2014.01.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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