Connecting the Dots between Barriers to W.I.C. Access and Adult and Child Food Insecurity: A Survey of Missouri Residents

Nutrients. 2023 May 27;15(11):2496. doi: 10.3390/nu15112496.


Background. Previous research has explored the impact of W.I.C. on recipients' health, but less is known about the connection between barriers to W.I.C. access and health outcomes. We fill in a gap in the literature by studying the relationship between barriers to Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (W.I.C.) access and adult and child food insecurity. Methods. After survey administration, we analyzed a cross-sectional sample of 2244 residents in Missouri who have used W.I.C. or lived in a household with a W.I.C. recipient in the past three years. We ran logistic regression models to understand the relationships among barriers to W.I.C. utilization, adult food insecurity, and child food insecurity. Results. Having special dietary needs (for adults), lacking access to technology, encountering inconvenient clinic hours of operation, and experiencing difficulties taking off work were associated with increased adult food insecurity. Difficulties finding WIC-approved items in the store, technological barriers, inconvenient clinic hours, difficulties taking off work, and finding childcare were associated with increased child food insecurity. Conclusion. Barriers to accessing and utilizing W.I.C. are associated with adult and child food insecurity. However, current policies suggest promising approaches to curbing these barriers.

Keywords: W.I.C.; food insecurity; maternal and child health; program barriers; social determinants of health.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Eye Diseases*
  • Female
  • Food Insecurity
  • Food Supply*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Missouri

Grants and funding

This research, including APC, was funded by Operation Food Search via Missouri Foundation for Health.