For the first time since 1980, the US Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food package policies were revised in 2009 to meet the Institute of Medicine's nutrition recommendations. These changes included increases in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy to improve nutrition and health of WIC participants. Our systematic review of the literature assessed the influence that the 2009 WIC food package revisions have had on dietary intake, healthy food and beverage availability, and breastfeeding participation. The systematic review followed Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses recommendations. Four electronic databases were searched between April 1 and 30, 2014, for peer-reviewed research. Two reviewers screened the articles, extracted the data, and established inter-rater reliability by discussing and resolving discrepancies. Twenty articles were included that met our inclusion criteria. Nine of the studies analyzed changes in dietary intake, eight examined changes in healthy food and beverage availability, and three evaluated breastfeeding participation exclusively. The review demonstrated an improved dietary intake and an increase in the availability of healthier foods and beverages in authorized WIC stores. The revised food package was also associated with improved dietary intake of WIC participants. Mixed results were demonstrated in regard to improved breastfeeding outcomes. Further research is needed to assess the influence of WIC 2009 food package revisions on breastfeeding outcomes and to make conclusions about broad nutrition-related implications.
Keywords: 2009 WIC Food Package Revisions; Breastfeeding participation; Dietary intake; Healthy food accessibility; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
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