The WIC Nutrition Education Assessment Study was conducted by Abt Associates Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, under contract with the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The study was designed by FNS to fill several important gaps in information about the nutrition education component of the WIC program.
It was not designed to be a "best practices" study, nor was it meant to provide a nationally representative picture of nutrition education in the WIC program. Rather, the study was exploratory in nature and examined processes and outcomes in six local WIC agencies that serve different populations and use a variety of different approaches to providing nutrition education. Findings from the study are intended to provide a focus for future research in this area.
The study is unique in that it used a longitudinal design, i.e., repeated measures from the same group of WIC participants over a period of time. In addition, the study employed a mixed-method approach to data collection that allowed for collection of comparable data from different sources. This feature provides broad coverage of important issues from different perspectives.
Six local WIC agencies participated in the study which focused on pregnant and postpartum WIC participants. A separate report describes the nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of study subjects at the time they enrolled in WIC (Fox, M.K., et al., 1998). This report describes the nutrition education services offered in study sites, participants' receipt of and satisfaction with these services, and changes in participants' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors between the time of prenatal WIC certification and four-to-six-months postpartum.