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The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides access to supplemental foods, nutrition education etc. to low-income pregnant women, infants and children under 5. Despite being a safety net for nutritionally at-risk individuals, the coverage rates for WIC eligible individuals are far lower than the eligibility rates. This study seeks to understand the history of the WIC program, analyze current trends and discuss factors affecting participation in the WIC program.


The target population are populations that are eligible for the WIC program. A narrative review of journal articles was conducted. Databases searched were EBSCO host, PubMed and Google Scholar. The main predictor examined in this study was factors that affect participation in WIC programs, and the Outcome variable was WIC coverage rates. A thematic analysis was done to categorize results from studies that were reviewed


Reviewed for this study were 30 studies that met the inclusion criteria. Trends from the studies reviewed showed that a significant percentage of children who were not participating in the WIC program were still at risk for food insufficiency. Themes like structural barriers, bureaucratic complications, specific WIC program characteristics and income status were identified. Findings were then explored under these themes.


The main results of this study showed that the WIC programs has had a great impact on the nutrition and health outcomes of low-income individuals or families. This study identified factors that may negatively impact enrollment and retention in WIC programs. Furthermore, this study shows that there may be direct implications like increased nutritional risk for populations who do not participate in or withdraw from the WIC program. Thus, further research on this topic specific to particular geographical locations need to be undertaken in this area.



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