Mothers Prefer Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Over Jarred Baby Fruits and Vegetables in the New Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Food Package
Gail Harrison, Loan Kim, Lorrene Ritchie, Nancy Crocker, Pat Gradziel, Shannon Whaley
and children, case value voucher, food security, fruit, infants, jarred baby foods, nutrition, special supplemental nutrition program for women, vegetable, WIC
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Almost 300 Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) were surveyed to learn about their preferences in regard to the new WIC food package changes in 2009. The major question researchers wanted to answer was related to vouchers for mothers of 6-11 month old babies that allowed them to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables vs. jarred baby food. 66.1% of mothers of 6-11 month olds preferred fresh fruit and vegetable vouchers over the jarred baby foods, yet fresh fruit and vegetable vouchers are not provided until the baby is 11 months old. This has important policy implications because the current WIC protocols do now allow fresh fruit and vegetable vouchers for 6-11 month old babies – jarred baby food is the only option provided. Earlier research had established the 11 month cut off for access to fresh fruit and vegetable vouchers, but this newer research suggests that vouchers for fresh fruit and vegetables would be widely used and preffered by mothers of babies younger than 11 months. WIC food package policies must consider these findings and the importance increasing access to fresh fruit and vegetables play in growing healthy children.