Home Health Participation in WIC is associated with improved birth outcomes and reduced infant...

Participation in WIC is associated with improved birth outcomes and reduced infant mortality


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A systematic review of the most recently available data found that participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is likely associated with improved birth outcomes and reduced infant mortality. In addition, participation in WIC may increase children’s receipt of preventive services such as vaccines. Review published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

The WIC program provides supplemental nutrition, nutrition education and breastfeeding support, screening and referrals to health and social services, and high-risk pregnancy support for low-income women and children under five. Through its services and recommendations, participation in WIC can impact maternal and infant health and reduce economic, racial, or ethnic disparities in adverse outcomes. This latest evidence review focuses on maternal and child outcomes and whether they differ by enrollee characteristics or length of enrollment in the WIC program.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine conducted a systematic review of studies of mothers and children under five eligible for WIC as part of an evidence report prepared by the USDA to examine the most recent evidence. The authors report findings on maternal mortality, maternal morbidity, maternal pregnancy outcomes, maternal health behaviors, maternal health care utilization, birth and newborn outcomes, and infant and child health outcomes. The review included 20 studies. Results indicated that maternal participation in WIC was likely associated with a lower risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and infant mortality.

The authors also found that the risk of low birth weight or preterm birth was reduced, although they report that the magnitude of the risk reduction is more modest than previously reported. The strength of the evidence was low or insufficient to determine the results by race or ethnicity of enrollees or length of WIC enrollment. No studies reported an association of WIC participation with maternal mortality.

CDC: Infant outcomes vary by mother’s birthplace

Additional information:
Maternal, infant and child health outcomes associated with a specific supplementary feeding program for women, infants and children, Annals of Internal Medicine (2022). DOI: 10.7326/M22-0604

Citation: WIC Participation Linked to Better Birth Outcomes, Lower Infant Mortality (2022, September 6) Retrieved September 6, 2022, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-09-wic-birth-outcomes-infant-mortality .html

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