breastfeeding rates. Implementation procedures and the type of nutrition education (e.g., culturally sensitive) provided will influence the effectiveness of the revised food packages. Ultimately, data collection and analyses conducted after changes in the WIC food packages have been implemented will provide needed information on the impacts of the revised food packages.
This chapter focuses on recommendations relating to studies of the effects of the revised packages, flexibility and variety, workable procedures, breastfeeding promotion and support, nutrition education, and product availability. Following these recommendations would facilitate the gradual adoption of the revised WIC food packages and could lead to improved nutrition of the nation’s mothers, infants, and young children. Recommendations are crafted specifically to address the range of stakeholders whose efforts will be integral to the successful implementation of the revised WIC food packages: the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) (i.e., federal regulators); administrators in WIC regional, state, and local agencies; Competent Professional Authorities1 (CPAs)at local WIC clinics; retail food vendors; and food manufacturers. All these stakeholders have a role in implementing one or more of these recommendations. It will take cooperation and communication among all these parties to maximize the beneficial impacts of suggested changes in the WIC food packages.
Because of the magnitude of the changes proposed and because it is not possible to determine a priori the impacts of the proposed changes, the committee urges that well-designed pilot testing and randomized, controlled trials of the revised food packages be conducted before full-scale implementation of the revised food packages. Such testing could examine how WIC state and local agencies implement the revised food packages, effects of the revised food packages on participation rates, and the extent to which the food and nutrient goals of the proposed revisions are achieved. Impacts of the revised food packages need to be examined among diverse groups of WIC participants, with documentation of the influence of the mother’s age, ethnicity/race, previous breastfeeding experience, education, employment status, and possibly other characteristics.
Among the broad range of implementation issues and dietary impacts that could be addressed through studies, some recommended changes in policies relating to WIC food packages and their contents are particularly important to examine in pilot tests before full-scale implementation.