Objective: To evaluate the impact of the 2009 food package changes for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) on the availability of healthful food.
Design: Survey of all food stores in the study area before and after the changes were implemented.
Setting: Two low-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia, 1 predominantly African-American, the other predominantly Hispanic.
Participants: One hundred forty one supermarkets, grocery stores, and non-chain corner stores identified through field enumeration.
Main outcome measures: Nutrition Environment Measure Survey for Stores (NEMS-S) to determine availability, price, and quality of fruit, vegetables, milk, cereal, beans, canned fish, meat, whole grains, and juice.
Analysis: Comparison of NEMS-S scores before and after food package changes using t tests and ordinary least squares regression to understand the role of supermarket status, WIC participation, and racial and income composition in predicting NEMS-S scores; geographic information systems to calculate proximity of residents to food stores.
Results: The availability of healthful food increased significantly in stores, overall, with more substantial increases in WIC-authorized stores. Supermarket status, WIC retail status, and NEMS-S scores at baseline were significant predictors of NEMS-S scores after the food package changes.
Conclusions and implications: Changes in the WIC food package were associated with increased availability of healthful food in 2 low-income neighborhoods.
Copyright © 2012 Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.