Project Title: Project ReNEW (Revitalizing Nutrition Education in the WIC Program)
State Agency: Connecticut WIC Program
Summary: Project ReNEW is a comprehensive initiative that includes staff education and the development of educational materials and guidelines. The goals of the project are to improve staff nutrition competencies in an effort to 1) optimize the impact of the WIC Program on participant health, 2) improve the quality of interaction between WIC staff, WIC participants and the community through nutrition education and 3) sustain the enhanced quality of nutrition services provided by the Connecticut WIC Program. The educational curriculum developed under Project ReNEW includes core sessions for all levels of staff on customer service, cultural competence and breastfeeding/nutrition, and elective sessions designed to meet role-specific educational needs, such as team building, counseling skills and facilitated group discussion.
Project Title: Improving How WIC Teaches Nutrition: Using Stages of Change Criteria and Critical Thinking Skills to Teach About Vegetables
State Agency: Iowa WIC Program
Summary: Parents and primary caregivers were staged regarding their intention to offer their 2-5 year old children vegetables least 3 times a day. Barriers to offering vegetables were identified and addressed using interactive education modules tailored to stage and barrier(s). After controlling for initial stage, intervention and duration of program participation were associated with stage advancement and positively influenced parent and caregiver attitudes and feeding intentions. WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program voucher redemption rates also increased with the intervention. However, the intervention did not translate to increased vegetable intake among the children. The staging algorithm and tailored nutrition education modules developed for this project are available for use by other nutrition education programs.
Project Title: Web-based Nutrition Education: Give the People What They Want
State Agency: Maine WIC Program
Summary: Maine WIC and the University of Southern Maine Muskie School, Institute for Public Sector Innovation partnered to develop six web-based nutrition education modules, evaluate their effect on clients’ nutrition-related knowledge, beliefs and intended behaviors; assess their impact on clients’ ability to access quality nutrition information; and assess their influence on clients’ continued program participation. The modules were developed with information that would be of interest to WIC families with children aged 12 to 36 months. The project is a state-wide research project with local agencies assigned as an experimental group or as a comparison group. The web-based nutrition education methodology incorporates several features that have the potential to revitalize nutrition education offerings nationwide: allow for self-directed learning, offer >education relevant to the individual’s needs, use interactive activities as central to learning, and allow for continuous collection of data that will inform continuous quality improvements in information and technique.
Project Title: Cultural Perspectives on Childhood Overweight Among Hispanic WIC Participants in Massachusetts
State Agency: Massachusetts WIC Program
Summary: The primary goal of the project was to increase the ability of the Massachusetts WIC program to provide services which promote modification and elimination of behaviors contributing to childhood overweight, in a culturally-sensitive manner, particularly among Hispanic-American participants. The project’s focus derived from the increasing prevalence of overweight among children, a paucity of effective tools for mitigating overweight, and perceived cultural barriers among nutrition staff to implementing existing educational modules on this topic. Messages and materials for nutrition education, staff training, and coordination with medical providers were developed that featured cultural perceptions of healthy weight and dietary practices. Strategies and materials for the prevention and treatment of overweight in Hispanic populations will be available to nutrition educators nationwide.