From 2005 – 2009, UCLA and PHFE WIC were funded by a CREES/USDA grant to explore the role and potential of WIC in the rising incidence of overweight in young children. The project (CHIRP) investigated (1) whether there is an influence of the WIC Program in contributing to or mitigating early-onset overweight and developed a low-cost, individually tailored preventive intervention within the program; and (2) the impact of a WIC-based intervention on behavior change related to obesity.
CHIRP 1: Case-control study
CHIRP 1 involved a case-control study involving 556 overweight and non-overweight three-and four-year-old children who were WIC participants. Following informed consent, interviews were conducted with the child’s mother to ascertain total cumulative family WIC participation history, infant feeding history including breast and formula feeding and duration of each, maternal height and weight, maternal history of diabetes, mother’s perception of the weight status of the study child and other family members, current usual daily activity pattern for the child, sociodemographic data, usual medical care source and semiquantitative and targeted data on food intake for the study child and other family members. All data collection was completed prior to the October 2009 changes to the WIC Food Package.
CHIRP 2: Intervention
CHIRP 2 included an age-appropriate, language and culturally appropriate individualized WIC intervention that focused on reducing and preventing childhood overweight. The intervention was piloted in one WIC Center. At the WIC certification visits in this Center (every 6 months), families with children ages 3-4 received individual counseling by a WIC professional or para-professional about a topic chosen by the parent. A database was designed and included a visual weight chart and interactive “scripts” for staff and parent to engage in a participant-centered discussion about the child. In order to assess the impact of the intervention, behavioral data were collected from a sample of ~ 400 families receiving the CHIRP 2 intervention and ~ 400 families at a control WIC site receiving the usual WIC standard of care.
CHIRP 1: Results confirmed that participation in WIC
does not promote or prevent
overweight in young children.
CHIRP 2: The intervention had a significant impact on the feeding behaviors of
WIC caregivers with young children (1-2 years old).
For more information about the CHIRP project, please contact