Contribution of WIC-Eligible Foods to the Overall Diet of 13- and 24-Month-Old Toddlers in the WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2

J Acad Nutr Diet. 2019 Mar;119(3):435-448. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2018.11.001. Epub 2019 Jan 9.


Background: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides supplemental foods to assist participants in meeting their dietary needs. Few studies have described the extent to which WIC-eligible foods contribute to the overall diet of children who were enrolled in WIC prenatally or in early infancy.

Objective: Our aims were to examine commonly consumed foods and estimate the proportion of dietary intake contributed by WIC-eligible foods among 13- and 24-month-old children, and to assess differences by WIC participation status at 24-months.

Design: This was a national observational study.

Participants/setting: Children participating in the WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2 were included (13 months old [n=2,777] and 24 months old [n=2,450]) from 2013 to 2016.

Main outcome measures: Dietary intakes were assessed using 24-hour dietary recalls at 13 and 24 months. The 10 most commonly consumed foods were described using the What We Eat in America food category classification system. WIC-eligible foods were defined as meeting the WIC nutrient criteria set forth in the Federal regulation.

Statistical analyses performed: The estimated proportion (mean±standard error) of WIC-eligible foods to total daily intake was calculated for energy, macronutrients, and select micronutrients. Multiple linear regression, adjusted for confounders, was conducted to compare the estimated proportion of nutrient intake from WIC-eligible foods by WIC participation at 24 months.

Results: At 13 and 24 months, most (60% and 63%, respectively) of the commonly consumed foods were eligible for purchase as part of the child WIC food package. WIC-eligible foods provided >40% of calories and close to 50% or more of other nutrients, and the contribution of WIC-eligible foods to overall micronutrient intake increased between 13 and 24 months. Children still on WIC at 24 months obtained a larger proportion of calories and most other nutrients from WIC-eligible foods than children no longer on WIC.

Conclusions: WIC-eligible foods could contribute to the overall diet of toddlers who were enrolled in WIC prenatally or in early infancy. Further, there may be additional nutritional benefits of staying on the program through 24 months.

Trial registration: NCT02031978.

Keywords: Dietary intake; Nutrients; Toddlers; WIC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Dietary Supplements / statistics & numerical data*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Food Assistance*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / analysis


  • Micronutrients

Associated data