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WIC Participation Patterns: An Investigation of Delayed Entry & Early Exit

by Laura Tiehen and Alison Jacknowitz

Economic Research Report No. (ERR-109) 45 pp, December 2010

cover image for err109 Despite the health benefits of participation, many eligible households do not participate in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). While roughly half of infants born in the United States receive WIC benefits, USDA statistics indicate that eligible pregnant women and children 1-5 years of age are far less likely to participate in WIC than eligible infants and postpartum women. This implies that a number of pregnant women delay enrollment until after having a child, and that many households leave the program when a participating child turns 1 year old. Research on the factors that influence the dynamics of WIC participation can inform outreach and targeting efforts, so that vulnerable populations receive adequate exposure to the benefits of WIC participation.

Keywords: Child Nutrition Programs, Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, WIC Vulnerable Populations, Food & Nutrition Assistance Policy, and Program participation dynamics

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Last updated: Sunday, May 27, 2012

For more information contact: Laura Tiehen and Alison Jacknowitz