NP22 Development of the Children Eating Well (CHEW) Mobile Application for WIC Families in Tennessee
By Hull P, Shearer E, Weber S, Schmidt D, Jones J, Harris C, Mulvaney S
Mobile applications (‘apps’) for WIC families are becoming increasingly prevalent, especially in states that have transitioned from paper vouchers to electronic benefits transfer (EBT) for WIC. Apps and other digital technologies can improve the WIC experience by helping participants check their benefit balance, scan food items to determine WIC eligibility, streamline service delivery, and provide additional nutrition education. The Children Eating Well (CHEW) app aims to maximize redemption of WIC foods and improve overall diet quality of preschool-aged participants by facilitating benefit redemption at the store and providing easy, practical ways for parents to increase consumption of healthy foods through healthy recipes, quizzes, and goal setting features. The objective is to report on the findings of user testing and development during the preparation of version 2.0 of the CHEW app.
Our team conducted qualitative interviews families of WIC children aged 2-4 years in an iterative process to inform user-centered development of version 2.0 and to maximize usability of the app.
Using a sorting activity, participants were asked to rank potential in-app features by importance then place the cards into natural groupings of similar features. Participants were also asked to form mental models about using recipes, shopping lists, using WIC benefits, and checking their WIC balance. We will report on qualitative findings that informed the user interface, improvement of shopping tools, and format of nutrition education features. We will also describe how we are collaborating with partners and outline ways that potential partners can collaborate with the CHEW team to disseminate existing nutrition education content to WIC participants through the CHEW app in the future.
Conclusion and Implications
The CHEW 2.0 app will be implemented in WIC clinics across the state of Tennessee as a supplemental education tool for families to use at home, with plans for future dissemination to other states. These formative findings can also inform the development of other technology applications for the WIC program.
July 15, 2019
Hull P, Shearer E, Weber S, Schmidt D, Jones J, Harris C, Mulvaney S (2019) NP22 Development of the Children Eating Well (CHEW) Mobile Application for WIC Families in Tennessee. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Vol.51, Issue 7, Supplement - p.S20.