Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). The WIC program serves low-income women, infants, and children by providing supplemental foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support and promotion, and referrals to healthcare and social service programs (Oliveira & Frazão, 2015). Revisions of the WIC food packages to include cash value benefits (CVB) that provided WIC participants the opportunity to purchase fruits and vegetables with their WIC benefits. There is significant research that indicates the benefit of F.V. consumption and the impact on diet-related diseases. In addition, dietary recommendations encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet.

To better understand the impact of the implementation of CVB, this dissertation study aimed to contribute to the literature by describing the impact of CVB on WIC participants’ attitude toward vegetable consumption and the WIC program’s instructional methods used to educate participants. A systematized review of the literature revealed that WIC participants utilized their CVB to purchase fruits more often than vegetables, and vegetable consumption did not significantly increase after CVB implementation. Results of the systemized review guided further evaluation that focused on Louisiana WIC participants’ attitudes towards vegetable consumption and instructional methods used by Louisiana WIC staff. WIC participants (n = 89) were assessed to determine their attitudes toward vegetable consumption, subjective norms related to vegetable consumption, perceived behavior control related to vegetable consumption, and intention to consume vegetables.

Analysis revealed a significant relationship between Black/African American participants and the dependent variables, except intention to consume vegetables. Louisiana WIC staff included personnel (n = 66) with various job titles/roles, education levels, credentials, years of service, working arrangement, and utilized one-on-one: face-to-face counseling most often to facilitate nutrition education. WIC educational topic selection demonstrated the need for WIC administrators to focus training efforts on participant-centered education and group facilitation. WIC staff should focus on vegetable consumption, utilizing CVB to increase vegetable purchases and methods of incorporating more vegetables into their daily diets.

Date

10-22-2021

Committee Chair

Cater, Melissa

Available for download on Saturday, October 22, 2022

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