Objectives: This study examine the impact of participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Medicaid on risk of infant death in the United States.
Methods: The 1988 National Maternal and Infant Health Survey was used to consider the risk of endogenous and exogenous death among infants of women participating in WIC and Medicaid during pregnancy and the infant's first year.
Results: Participation in the WIC program during pregnancy and infancy was associated with a reduced risk of endogenous and exogenous infant deaths (odds ratios [ORs] = 0.68 and 0.62, respectively). The risk of endogenous death among infants whose mothers participated in Medicaid during pregnancy was equal to that of the privately insured (OR = 1.04). Uninsured infants faced higher risks of endogenous death (OR = 1.42).
Conclusions: These results show that it is important to consider the net effect of WIC and Medicaid participation and to differentiate both the timing of program receipt and cause of death. Evidence suggests that WIC and Medicaid programs have beneficial effects for poor women and their infants.