Accessibility and Preferred Use of Online Web Applications Among WIC Participants With Internet Access



      This study examined the current technology use of clients in the western Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) region and the preferences these current clients have for using new technologies to interact with WIC.


      Cross-sectional convenience sample for online survey of WIC clients over 2 months in 2011.


      A weighted sample of 8,144 participants showed that the majority of WIC clients have access to the Internet using a computer or mobile phone. E-mail, texting, and Facebook were technologies most often used for communication. Significant differences (P < .05) existed between age groups and Facebook use, education level and technology use for education delivery, and education level and use of video chat.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Technologies should be considered for addressing WIC clients' needs, including use of text messaging and smartphone apps for appointments, education, and other WIC services; online scheduling and nutrition education; and a stronger Facebook presence for connecting with WIC clients and breastfeeding support.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access

      SNEB Member Login

      SNEB Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Login via the SNEB Website to access all journal content and features.


      Subscribe to Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


      1. Who's online: Internet user demographics. Pew Reserarch Center. Accessed February 11, 2014.

        • Neuenschwander L.M.
        • Abbot A.
        • Mobley A.R.
        Assessment of low-income adults' access to technology: implications for nutrition education.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012; 44: 60-65
        • Bensley R.J.
        • Anderson J.V.
        • Brusk J.J.
        • Mercer N.
        • Rivas J.
        Impact of Internet vs traditional Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children nutrition education on fruit and vegetable intake.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2011; 111: 749-755
        • Bensley R.J.
        • Brusk J.J.
        • Anderson J.V.
        • Mercer N.
        • Rivas J.
        Broadbent impact of stages of change-based Internet nutrition education program.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2006; 38: 222-229
        • Atkinson N.L.
        • Saperstein S.L.
        • Desmond S.M.
        • Gold R.S.
        • Billing A.S.
        • Tian J.
        Rural eHealth nutrition education for limited-income families: an iterative and user-centered design approach.
        J Med Internet Res. 2009; 11: e21
        • van Zutphen M.
        • Milder I.E.
        • Bemelmans W.J.
        Integrating an eHealth program for pregnant women in midwifery care: a feasibility study among midwives and program users.
        J Med Internet Res. 2009; 11: e7
        • Prochaska J.M.
        • Mauriello L.
        • Dyment S.
        • Gökbayrak S.
        Designing a health behavior change program for dissemination to underserved pregnant women.
        Public Health Nurs. 2011; 28: 548-555
        • Stenger K.
        • James K.
        • Patton P.
        • et al.
        Use of technology to reach families with young children.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013; 45: 86-89
        • Ammann R.
        • Vandelanotte C.
        • de Vries H.
        • Mummery W.K.
        Can a website-delivered computer-tailored physical activity intervention be acceptable, usable, and effective for older people?.
        Health Educ Behav. 2012; 40: 160-170
        • Neuenschwander L.M.
        • Abbott A.
        • Mobley A.R.
        Comparison of a web-based vs in-person nutrition education program for low-income adults.
        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013; 113: 120-126
        • Broekhuizen K.
        • Kroeze W.
        • Poppel M.N.
        • Oenema A.
        • Brug J.
        A systematic review of randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of computer-tailored physical activity and dietary behavior promotion programs: an update.
        Ann Behav Med. 2012; 44: 259-286
        • Winett R.A.
        • Anderson E.S.
        • Wojcik J.R.
        • Winett S.G.
        • Moore S.
        • Blake C.
        Guide to health: a randomized controlled trial of the effects of a completely web-based intervention on physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, and body weight.
        Transl Behav Med. 2010; 1: 165-174
        • Scheinmann R.
        • Chiasson M.A.
        • Hartel D.
        • Rosenberg T.J.
        Evaluating a bilingual video to improve infant feeding knowledge and behavior among immigrant Latina mothers.
        J Commun Health. 2010; 35: 464-470
        • Stroever S.J.
        • Mackert M.S.
        • McAlister A.L.
        • Hoelscher D.M.
        Using social media to communicate child health information to low-income parents.
        Prev Chronic Dis. 2011; 8: A148
        • Phelan S.
        • Smith K.
        • Steele J.M.
        • Wilt D.
        • Ames S.
        • McClure L.
        What type of weight loss program do postpartum women want? Treatment preferences of postpartum women in two community settings.
        Californian Journal of Health Promotion. 2010; 8: 22-31
        • Kohl L.F.
        • Crutzen R.
        • de Vries N.K.
        Online prevention aimed at lifestyle behaviors: a systematic review of reviews.
        J Med Internet Res. 2013; 15: e146
        • Chew F.
        • Grant W.
        • Tote R.
        Doctors on-line: using diffusion of innovations theory to understand internet use.
        Fam Med. 2004; 38: 645-650
      2. Taylor P, Keeter S. Millenials: a portrait of generation next. Accessed September 10, 2013.

        • Lohse B.
        Facebook is an effective strategy to recruit low-income women to online nutrition education.
        J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013; 45: 69-76
      3. Vehawn J, Richards R, West JH, Cougar Hall P, Crookston BT, Neiger BL. Identifying barriers preventing Latina women from accessing WIC online health information [published online ahead of print February 27, 2013]. J Immigr Minor Health.

      4. Device ownership. Pew Reserarch Center. Accessed February 11, 2014.

        • Huberty J.
        • Dinkel D.
        • Beets M.W.
        • Coleman J.
        Describing the use of the Internet for health, physical activity, and nutrition information in pregnant women.
        Matern Child Health J. 2012; 17: 1363-1372
        • Brouwer W.
        • Kroeze W.
        • Crutzen R.
        • et al.
        Which intervention characteristics are related to more exposure to Internet-delivered healthy lifestyle promotion interventions? A systematic review.
        J Med Internet Res. 2011; 13: e2