National WIC Association

February 14, 2020

Press Release: New Studies Demonstrate WIC’s Role in Ensuring Healthier Diets among Young Participants

Rev. Greenaway: “The takeaway here is simple – WIC works.”



Press Contact: Natalie Moran


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Two studies released today demonstrate why WIC participation is so critical for young children.

One study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, found that families with the most economic need, families who reported that they made a change in their behavior based on something they learned at WIC, and families who breastfed for 6 months or longer were significantly more likely to continue WIC participation through age 2. Shannon E. Whaley, PhD, Director of Research and Evaluation at the PHFE WIC Program and study leader stated:

“These findings are important because they demonstrate the critical role that WIC plays in providing nutrition support to the families who need it most, and they highlight that two critical components of the WIC program – Nutrition Education and Breastfeeding Support – are important contributors to why families stay with WIC.”

Another study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, found that children who continued to receive WIC through their second birthdays had healthier diets than those who stopped receiving the program as infants. The study was led by Nancy S. Weinfield, PhD, of the Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic Permanente Research Institute who was the Study Director at Westat Corporation at the time the study was conducted. Dr. Weinfeld stated:

“WIC is an incredible program that promotes the health of prenatal and postpartum women, and infants and children. These studies are evidence of WIC’s benefits for children at age 2.”

Rev. Douglas Greenaway, President and CEO of the National WIC Association (NWA), issued the following statement in response to the findings:

“These studies demonstrate WIC’s documented effectiveness in helping to grow healthy young children. Specifically, they highlight the role of WIC’s quality nutrition education and breastfeeding support in retaining participants.”

“NWA is leading a national campaign to raise awareness and drive enrollment in the program to ensure that eligible families have access to WIC services. This retention is critical because, as these findings show, children who stay in the program longer have healthier diets.”

“The takeaway here is simple – WIC works.”