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Publication Date

May 1, 2004


Journal Article

Barriers to the Use of WIC Services

By Woelfel M, Abusabha R, Pruzek R, Stratton H, Chen S, Edmunds L


Objectives: To identify barriers that deter parents/caretakers of infants and children enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) from taking full advantage of the services provided by the program.

Subjects/Setting: A total of 3,167 parents/caretakers at 51 New York State WIC local agency sites completed a barriers survey.

Design: Sixty-eight potential barriers to WIC were identified through a literature review, five focus groups with parents/caretakers of WIC participants, and an expert review panel. The barriers survey was administered person-to-person to parents/caretakers of infants and children on WIC. Statistical analysis Classification tree analysis was used to identify characteristics that best predict WIC check usage behavior.

Results: A small set of barriers (n=11) were identified by more than 20% of respondents. Waiting too long was the most frequently cited barrier (48%). Difficulties in bringing the infant/child to recertify and rescheduling appointments were key variables associated with failure to use (ie, pick up or cash) WIC checks. Further analyses indicated that (a) for each additional reported barrier, there was a 2% increase in failure to use WIC checks (P<.0001); (b) waiting for services was related to an increase in the number of people who failed to use checks; and (c) the longer the reported wait, the greater the number of reported barriers (P<.0001).

Conclusions: Conducting this barriers research enabled the New York State WIC to improve services provided to participants and their families. A decrease in waiting times should generally reduce exposure to noisy, crowded facilities and lead to fewer reports of nothing for kids to do.

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Date Added
March 21, 2018

Woelfel M, Abusabha R, Pruzek R, Stratton H, Chen S, Edmunds L (2004) Barriers to the Use of WIC Services. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association: Vol. 104, Issue 5, pp. 736-743. Available online: https://jandonline.org/article/S0002-8223(04)00234-2/fulltext