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The Role of the WIC Program in Improving Peri-conceptional Nutrition: A Small Grants Program

Last Modified: 03/20/2014

The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) is managing a small-grants research program, funded by the Food and Nutrition Service of the US Department of Agriculture. Through a competitive process, UCLA awarded seven grants in June 2012. The awardees are listed below, along with a description of their projects. The two-year projects to academic researchers, in partnership with WIC agencies, will focus on the role that the WIC program is playing and can play in improving nutrition in pre-conceptional and peri-conceptional (between pregnancies) periods. FNS and UCLA anticipate that the grants will foster future collaboration and additional outside funding, along with findings that can inform WIC program development and nutrition education nationwide.

“Association Between Interpregnancy Interval And Maternal Health Outcomes Among WIC Participants,” Baruch College – CUNY, Oregon Health and Science University, and Oregon WIC Program. The proposed study will use a mixed methods approach to analyze the relationship between the interpregnancy interval (IPI) and maternal health outcomes, including risk factors associated with a short interpregnancy interval (IPI), whether a short IPI is associated with negative maternal health indicators. It will also examine mothers’ views of birth spacing, periconceptional health behaviors, and WIC’s potential influence in both areas.

“E-Moms: A Personalized Telehealth Intervention For Health And Weight Loss In Postpartum Women,” Louisiana State University, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, East Baton Rouge Parish WIC Clinic, and Capitol City Family Health Center WIC Clinic at Family Roads. The objective of this study is to implement a personalized weight management program to overweight and obese postpartum women in WIC. It will use a randomized-controlled design, and deliver nutritional counseling through the WIC Clinic (control) or a personalized, postpartum health intervention delivered remotely via Smartphone (treatment). The study will examine the impact of the treatment on weight loss and nutrition practices at six-months post-partum. The study will also test the efficacy of the telehealth platform to deliver health messages targeting other behaviors such as smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, breastfeeding, postpartum depression and infant food intake.

“Peri-Conception Health In The San Luis Valley,” University of Colorado at Denver and San Luis Valley WIC Clinic. This study will examine the impact on periconceptional weight and nutrition behaviors of two interventions: the HeartSmartKids™ (HSK) electronic program – a bilingual kiosk and decision support system that assists providers in clinical care and that will be adapted for use with women in post-, inter- and pre-partum phases – and training WIC educators in motivational interviewing to support maternal health behavior change.

“Improving Periconceptional Health Through The Prevention Of Excessive Gestational Weight Gain: From Research To Intervention,” Pepperdine University and Public Health Foundation (PHFE) WIC Program. This project will assess the impact on pregnancy weight gain of new individual and group educational materials focused on weight gain and the IOM recommendations for pregnant women.

“Short Inter-Pregnancy Interval And Weight Retention Among Massachusetts WIC Participants: Identifying Strategies To Improve Interconceptional Health,” Simmons College, Boston and Massachusetts WIC Program. The project will use 9 years of longitudinal Massachusetts (MA) WIC data to assess the impact of WIC on IPI among women who are WIC participants either prenatally or in the post-partum period of an initial pregnancy, determine the factors affecting weight retention (or loss) from one pregnancy to the next, and consider the degree to which weight retention is affected by the intensity of WIC nutrition education.

“Integrating Obstetrical Care And WIC Nutritional Service To Address Maternal Obesity And Postpartum Weight Retention: Altering The Life Course Trajectory,” Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health and the WIC Nutrition in Pregnancy Clinic (NIP) in the Johns Hopkins Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) Department. The purpose of this research is to develop and evaluate the impact of a cost-neutral model to completely integrate postpartum obstetrical care and WIC nutritional services to address maternal postpartum weight retention and overall periconceptional health. It will consider the impact of an intensive postpartum nutrition intervention referred to as WICNIP on weight and nutrition outcomes.

“Reaching High Risk Post-Partum Women For Nutritional Assessment And Counseling Via A Telephone-Based Coaching Program,” The University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), Sonoma County WIC Program, and the San Francisco County WIC Program. The project will adapt a recently developed post-partum diabetes prevention intervention created by the partners for the WIC context . The program, Support via Telephone Advice and Resources (STAR-MAMA), is based on an Automated Telephone Self-Management Support system (ATSM) was developed for at-risk populations. The study will implement the modified STAR-MAMA system with WIC participants and consider its impact on nutritional risk and health behaviors.