Evaluating the Impact of the Revised Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children Fruit Juice Allotment on Fruit Intake, Dietary Quality, and Energy/Nutrient Intakes among Children 1-4 Years of Age


  • T.A. Nicklas USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, 77030 https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7019-8356
  • C.E. O’Neil Louisiana State University Ag Center (Emeritus), 143 Kenilworth Parkway, Baton Rouge, LA 70808
  • V.L. Fulgoni III Nutrition Impact, LLC, 9725 Drive North, Battle Creek, MI, 49014




WIC program, dietary intake, children, NHANES, fruit juice.


Objective: The goals of this study were to assess the impact of recent changes in the WIC allotment on fruit intake, dietary quality/adequacy, energy/nutrient intakes, and potential impact of the complete removal of 100% fruit juice (FJ) from the package.

Methods: 24-hour recalls from children 1-4 years who were WIC participants or income-eligible nonparticipants in the NHANES 2007-2008 and 2011-2014 (before and after WIC package changes) were analyzed.

Results: There were no differences in the Healthy Eating Index-2015 total score; subcomponent scores for “greens and beans” and for “fatty acid ratio” were higher in 2011-2014 than in 2007-2008 in children participating in WIC; scores for “sodium” were higher in 2011-2014 than in 2007-2008 in children not participating in WIC but income-eligible. In WIC participants mean intakes of riboflavin, vitamins B12 and C, and zinc were significantly (p<0.01) lower, and intake of vitamin E was significantly (p<0.01) higher in 2011-2014 compared to 2007-2008. One significant difference in nutrient adequacy in children was that of a lower (p<0.01) percentage of inadequacy for WIC participants for vitamin E and a higher (p<0.01) percentage of inadequacy for WIC participants for vitamin A in 2011-2014 as compared to those in 2007-2008. The elimination of FJ from the WIC food packages resulted in a 38-50% lower total fruit intake and a 4-5% reduction in total HEI-2015 score.

Conclusion: Changes in the WIC program resulted in potential adverse effects on mean intakes of some nutrients but not on the nutrient adequacy or overall diet quality. Confirmatory studies are needed.


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