Research Article| Volume 46, ISSUE 3, SUPPLEMENT , S38-S44, May 2014

The Influence of the WIC Food Package Changes on the Retail Food Environment in New Orleans



      To examine the effect of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food package changes on availability of healthy foods in small stores.


      Pre–post comparison group design with repeat in-store observations.


      New Orleans.


      Small stores (n = 102; 77% of total) were visited in 2009. Of these, 91% were observed again in 2010, including both WIC (n = 27) and non-WIC (n = 66) stores.


      The 2009 WIC food package changes to include healthier foods.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Change in store availability of fruits, vegetables, lower-fat milks, whole wheat bread, and brown rice. Change in number of varieties and shelf length of fruits and vegetables.


      Difference-in-differences analysis using logit models for change in availability and regression models for change in number of varieties or shelf length.


      The WIC stores were more likely to improve availability of lower-fat milks than non-WIC stores (adjusted odds ratio, 5.0, 95% confidence interval, 1.2—21.0). An even greater relative improvement was seen with whole grains. The WIC stores showed a relative increase in number of varieties of fresh fruits (0.9 ± 0.3; P < .01) and shelf length of vegetables (1.2 ± 0.4 meters; P < .01).

      Conclusions and Implications

      Results suggest that WIC changes improved the availability of healthy foods in small stores in New Orleans. Similar changes throughout the country could have a significant impact on neighborhood food environments.

      Key Words

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